I’m currently in the process of polishing and finishing up The Troll Warriors of Sheepbane, and while waiting for feedback from the alpha readers I’m making preparations for my next writing project: a series of five urban fantasy novellas. As with previous books, I started with a rough plot outline, stating a number of things that should happen in each book. This process is mostly done, but before I can start outlining each book in detail, I need to do one more thing.
I need to watch a lot of movies.
Now, this might sound a bit strange coming from a writer, but there’s actually a pretty solid methodology behind this. I’ve mentioned before that one of the best books on story structure I have read is "Screenwriting Tricks for Authors" by Alexandra Sokoloff. While I might not follow all of her suggestions literally, I find it very useful to analyze movies for story structure to help flesh out a plot.
The key is reducing the story you want to tell to a basic concept. Is the story an abduction, a hostage situation, a treasure hunt, a heist? It’s fairly simple to find movies with these themes, and by analyzing them and finding "key components". Once you’ve done this, it’s usually pretty simple to transpose this concept to whatever story and setting you prefer.
That said - keep an eye on my Twitter account the next few days, I might need your help with movie suggestions.