Plot Ninja

[Writer’s Stuff] post!


Unlike plot bunnies, plot ninjas are always hanging around. Plot bunnies is chaos. Plot ninjas are order.

What do I mean by that?

In [Plot Bunnies], I mention they show up at random as a distraction more than anything else. They can help progress the current WIP, but I’d call that more a rarity.

Plot ninjas, on the other hand, are there for you to get the plot moving forward.

[Collection of Plot Ninjas]

What does that even mean? To get the plot moving forward?

I’ve mentioned plot ninjas before. When hit with writer’s block, you can try pushing. Not sure how to change the next scene? Or get there? Or who would be there? Or why?

A quick list of random changes or events would help you move forward. That list is called plot ninjas.

The original option was just add a ninja. A ninja showing up would change things, right? Do they take an item forcing movement? Do they attack someone? Do they just appear and disappear?

This goes back to when a play added a ninja. It would be someone who fits the tech staff on stage. They wear all black to be ignored while the play moves forward. Then one tech killed a king. He became what we think of when we think of ninjas.

And it’s the same situation in a story.

Not sure how to kill the king? Ninja.
Not sure who is gonna steal the important item? Ninja.
Not sure how they’ll learn the next piece of data? Ninja.

Ninja can be used for a lot of things.

But not everything. That’s why I have the list. I created it for the sake of Nanowrimo. Because 50k can be really difficult if writer’s block hits. So plot ninjas help break that wall down. (Ninjas can totally break walls.)

Plot ninjas can be a random collection like I have, or more specific based off the story. Possible options that can randomly happen in your story. Can an alien show up? Can they find a lost dog? Can they get a telephone call? Can they hear a battle cry?
Based on the list of ‘can’s, there can be a quick list of ‘if I don’t know what else to do, this works’.

It falls into the how would your characters react in this event situation.

And yes, these things can even happen in the midst of a major event.

There are other options to help break through writer’s block: such as switching POV, taking a step back, or reverting to the last “save point”, etc. Plot ninja is just a tool in the writing toolbox. If you want a list of possible options for your world and need a listening ear or sounding board, I’m here. I love talking stories: my own and others.

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