Thursday, December 24, 2015

You can outline an entire novel in less than two hours.

How? Just follow this simple strategy.

·         Write something. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Just write a short beginning or part of a pivotal scene. 

Example:
Melanie Stanton stepped carefully on the spray-dampened rocks that made up the path leading down to Captive Cove. If she slipped and injured herself, no one would find her, since no one knew she’d returned to her grandmother’s seaside cottage. 

The Sun’s first tentative rays fanned out over the water’s horizon, purple and mauve in the dawn sky.  She paused for a moment to quell the small tremors threatening her determination. 

Was she a fool to follow her grandmother’s example? Would she also vanish, never to be seen again? Her grandmother’s last diary entry, written six months before Melanie's own birth, sparked and a nay saying attitude in the rest of the family, but not in Melanie. 

 “Beware the Portal Stone oh daughters of the house of Stanton. Never approach at dawn on the first morning of the Spring Equinox. To do so will unlock the heavens and the Prince of Dawn will claim what is his, a claiming that cannot be broken.

I go now, for there is no other choice. In truth I welcome, no, I yearn for it. For with the claiming comes an enchantment that no resistance can lessen. The yearning pains me night and day. I must go to him. He commands me. I feel it in every corner of my mind. He has chosen. I must refuse, but fear I cannot…” 


What comes next. Well, if you can ask and answer your own questions, you've mastered the process. But don't take my word for it, try it for yourself...

How to plot an entire novel in just a few hours

Write a short beginning or snippet of a scene that's been turning over in your mind. It doesn’t need to be complicated or long.

Example:
Melanie Stanton stepped carefully on the spray-dampened rocks that made up the path leading down to Captive Cove. If she slipped and injured herself, no one would find her, since no one knew she’d returned to her grandmother’s seaside cottage. 

The Sun’s first tentative rays fanned out over the water’s horizon, purple and mauve in the dawn sky.  She paused for a moment to quell the small tremors threatening her determination. 

Was she a fool to follow her grandmother’s example? Would she also vanish, never to be seen again? Her grandmother’s last diary entry, written six months before Melanie's own birth, sparked and a nay saying attitude in the rest of the family, but not in Melanie. 

Beware the Portal Stone oh Daughters of the House of Stanton. Never approach at dawn on the first morning of the Spring Equinox. To do so will unlock the heavens and the Prince of Dawn will claim what is his, a claiming that cannot be broken.

I go now, for there is no other choice. In truth I welcome, no, I yearn for it. For with the claiming comes an enchantment that no resistance can lessen. The yearning pains me night and day. I must go to him. He commands me. I feel it in every corner of my mind. He has chosen. I must refuse, but fear I cannot…

·
  From this beginning, devise 6-10 pertinent questions derived from your beginning paragraphs.


Example:
1.       How old is Melanie?
2.       What is her background?
3.       Does she have any personal problems that will be important in this story?
4.       Is she involved in a serious romantic relationship at this time? If so, with whom?
5.       Where is Captive Cove located
6.       How had she gotten her grandmother’s diary?
7.       What was her family’s explanation for her grandmother’s disappearance.
8.       Why was the Stone name the ‘Portal Stone’?
9.       How does Melanie feel about her grandmother’s last diary entry?
10.  Who is the Prince of Dawn? Is he hero or villain?



·  Now, give 3 possible answers for each question


Example: For the sake of simplicity, I’m only going to work with 3 example from this point on.

       A.      How old is Melanie?
 24 years old – 31 years old – 39 years old

       B.      What is her background?

                                
 She’s a lawyer, very confident, normal family, parents both living, one brother.

 She’s a widow with 2 children, estranged from her family, owns a flower shop

 She’s a self defense educator and advocate for women’s rights. Chaotic family with 3 brothers, loving parents.

       C.      Is she involved in a serious romantic relationship at this time? If so, with whom?

                        
She has a fiancĂ© of 4 years whom she can’t bring herself to commit to. His name is Eric. He owns his own construction company, works hard and is steady and reliable. If he has a flaw, it seems to be his ambition and materialistic attitude toward life.

She has never had a romantic connection because she doesn’t believe love last forever and doesn’t see the need to start something that will only complicate her life.

She lost the only man she’s ever loved in a tragic accident on their wedding day.

·  Next, devise 2-3 questions for each answer you gave.

Example: Using (C. 1st answer)

She has a fiancĂ© of 4 years whom she can’t bring herself to commit to. His name is Eric. He owns his own construction company, works hard and is steady and reliable. If he has a flaw, it seems to be his ambition and materialistic attitude toward life.

1      Is Eric ready to marry, if so, how does he handle her reluctance?
2     Why does Melanie feel she doesn’t want to commit at this time?
3      How does she feel about Eric’s ambitious nature?

As you can see in the following paragraph, your story will automatically develop. With a little practice, you're questions will become more intriguing and your answers more interesting. The more questions and answers you provide, the deeper your story will grow.

Example: 
Melanie is 31 years old – She’s a widow with 2 children, estranged from her family and owns a flower ship. She has a fiance of 4 years whom she can’t bring herself to commit to. His name is Eric. He owns his own construction company, works hard, and is steady and reliable. Eric is ready to marry and is growing more impatient with Melanie's reluctance. If he has a flaw, it seems to be his ambition and materialistic attitude toward life, one that conflicts with Melanie's tendency to be a little too giving and generous for her own good. And she can't forget her experience at her grandmother's seaside cottage and the growing mental and emotional need to return, which she does on the first morning of the Spring Equinox. 

.....................................................................................................................................

This is just a few plot points generated in a very short time that begins to set the stage for the scene described in the opening paragraphs. Following this example, in depth, can produce multiple plot possibilities. In fact, ideas will jump on the page. You'll discover paths that you never knew existed, a treasure trove of twists, mysteries, deep character traits or actions, obstacles, along with new and creative resolutions.

This method is not only productive, it's also somewhat addictive. And at times, you end up with so many good ideas that it becomes hard to choose. But one thing is certain, you'll never experience 'writer's block'.

I'd love to hear what you think of this approach to plot development, and if you've tried it, how it worked for you. Leave a comment below.


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Thank You So Much



9 comments:

  1. Wow! That makes me want to start a novel! Thanks for the helpful advice!

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  2. This tutorial was extremely helpful. Thank you so much!

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  3. Awesome! This is great advice and simple to understand! Thank you
    Lotus

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  4. Thank you... this sounds like a winning way to work a novel plot. I have a lot started and seem to stall out or get bumped by another idea! More ideas than time to follow through...any suggestions?

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  5. Hi Carlie,

    I allow myself to work on only three stories at a time. If I get stumped on one I move to another. When I return to the first one I have a new perspective and can move forward again. Set aside specific times for specific writings tasks and don't allow anything to interfere. If you have a short attentions span, :))), keep these time slots short, 20 - 60 minutes at a time. Hope that helps.

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  6. I discovered your blog through your post at Totally Tutorials. I'm excited about your directions! I did write a novel for NaNoWriMo one year and had the required words, but it really wandered. I think I'll try again using your information. This should be fun. I look forward to exploring your blog more, too. Thank you!

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  7. Thank you for sharing your technique with us. I have always wanted to try and write a novel. I have researched to try and find an outline that I could fully understand. This one is GREAT. Thank you so very much. Happy writing.

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  8. I shall revisit my pieces with renewed vigour. Thanks for the masterclass.

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  9. Thank you, Everyone, for leaving your comments. It's always great to have support and encouragement when sit down to create new characters and a compelling story.

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