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Three posts to help you plot a novel

As I work on plotting my current novel, I like to investigate what other authors are doing. By reading about their process, I learn tips to incorporate in my own process.

How I Plot a Novel in Five Steps” by Rachel Aaron explains her process of plotting a novel. I like what she writes about timelines:

“Make a timeline. I didn’t have timelines for the first four Eli novels and OMG did it bite me in the ass. Lesson finally learned, I now make timelines not just for the events of the novel itself, but the history before it as well. I especially make sure to note relative ages and how long everyone’s known everyone else.”

How to Create a Plot Outline in Three Easy Steps,” by Glen C. Strathy.  To write a story that others will want to read we have to raise the stakes for our protagonist. Low stakes equals low interest. Strathy calls this, “The Cost.”

He writes, “Good plots are about problems that mean a lot to the characters. If a problem is trivial, then neither the protagonist nor the reader has a reason to get worked up about it….One sign that a problem or goal matters to the protagonist is that he/she is willing to make sacrifices or suffer pain in order to achieve it. Such sacrifices are called Costs.

How to Plot a Character Driven Book in Three Easy Steps,” by Robyn DeHart. I like this post because it’s short and to the point, and it made me think about my protagonist in a new light.

DeHart, a romance writer, says, “…you have a character who is at Point A (believing her past dictates her future) and needs to get to Point B (accepting her past and allowing herself a future). The character arc is the plot of a character-driven story. Let me repeat that, the character arc is the plot of a character-driven story. Our jobs as writers is to figure out how to get her from Point A to Point B. You do this by forcing the character to face her past again and again until she either has to grow and change or forsake her internal goal. Naturally because we’re writing romance, she will change and accomplish her internal goal.”

Do you have any plotting tips you’d like to share? Please post a comment below.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Carol, everything you post is very useful, but these three links are absolutely perfect, just what I need at this very moment. Thank you!!

    January 20, 2013

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. But why did they do that? [writing] « datanode.net
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