Ring Method

“We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows.” –┬áRobert Frost

Oh, Ring Method.

After a dozen starts at this post, the majority of them beginning the same way, I’ve admitted to myself that no other sentence sums up my feelings about Ring Method like that statement.

Oh, Ring Method.

This one is new to me, and seems to be new to those I’ve mentioned it to. Don’t know if it’s been used much by others before as I’d never heard of it, yet somehow it just happened while planning this year’s NaNo idea. I already knew the overall concept before I stumbled across the approach. It’s possible that it may have given it a weight it had no right to, but I’ve since thrown together a few different ideas with it and that’s worked out alright too.

It’s a more character focused method than the others. Basically, I had an idea that involved five main characters. I knew some of the relationships between the characters, but an idea struck me – have their relationships loop around. Associations aside, each of the five would be an antagonist to one of the others. Each of the five would also have a vested interest in one of the others. None of them would overlap.

If it sounds simple, that’s because I’m explaining it really badly. Given five random characters: Professor, Musician, Politician, Socialite and Architect, I’ll present a matching ring to demonstrate. The black lines represents the antagonist chain, and the red lines represent the interest chain. All clockwise.

Pictured: Why my first Ring Method story has demons

The politician is vexed by their antagonist, the Socialite, and really wants to see the Architect succeed. I suppose it turns the character into a foil rather than a beard-twirling villain – the reasons for their differences come out of the relationships, and the story emerges. You could also do this with any number of characters, and a good friend of mine used the same method for her NaNoWriMo novel with three characters. Yes, it gets complicated. Very.

The other way to use this would be to randomly decide the connections, instead of making them work in a chain. It’s not so much a ring then, but if you had a bunch of characters, assigned them a number, and then roll a die. Whoever shows up is their antagonist – it could even be themselves. Ditto for interests.

This method obviously won’t appeal to everyone, but having just discovered, it’s kind of special to me.

Oh, Ring Method.

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