Plotting Your Novel

Starting to write a novelBefore I sold my first few books, I never had either a synopsis or outline of the story I would write. I would just get started and bam —

Of course, my first book was an unwieldly 1200 pages and needed to be broken into three stories for it to be marketable. I managed to break out the first story, but never sold it. One day I may dust it off and see what to do about it.

Since then, I’ve learned the necessity of having at least the basic elements of the story in my head before I sit down to write the dreaded synopsis. (I so hate writing the synopsis!)

So, before I write, I consider the following three points in the overall story arc:

    1. The ordinary world of both the hero and heroine and what their role is in that ordinary world.
    2. The ending, namely, what I want both the hero and heroine to have learned and accepted about themselves when the story ends.
    3. How I will make them confront their internal conflict at the height of the story (the black moment as it were).

For example, in HONOR CALLS, I knew that the heroine, Michaela, was a loner in her ordinary world and devoted to a cause – hunting the vampire that raped and killed her mother. The hero, Jesus, was also a loner with a devotion to his own cause — the FBI and upholding the law.

What ending did a want? Well in a romance it has to be a happy ending so I knew I had to get them together somehow and they had to have learned something about themselves. In this case that they didn’t necessarily have to be alone for the moment. (I say this because I would really really like to continue this story in a full length novel.)

As for their internal conflict at the height of the story — sorry, I’m going to tease you and say you’ll need to read the story to find out.

With those three basic plot points you can then write the scenes to start your story, know what you have to do to reach the black moment and where you will go once you overcome that obstacle.

For those aspiring writers out there, I hope that this helped! Also, if you’ve got a project and need a jump start to get it going, check out the Liberty States Fiction Writers Mayke It Happen Challenge. (No, that’s not a typo!). The Mayke It Happen Challenge ends in May, hence the MAY in MAYKE.

If you reach your goal by May 31, you will be eligible for a drawing for a critique. Three people will be chosen and either an editor, agent or published author will offer a critique of your work. From now until May 31, you will be on an e-mail loop sharing your progress, asking questions and being mentored by four published authors! The four published authors are:

    Debra Mullins
    Linda Parisi
    Caridad Pineiro
    Lois Winston

For more information on the challenge, you can click here!

HONOR CALLS by Caridad Pineiro February 2009On another note, HONOR CALLS is now available at! For more on this novel, you can click here.

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