Friday, March 28, 2014

Plotting Your Novel Part 2

Onward and upward, I always say, and now it is time to work on the second half of plotting your story.

After you have begun to plot out what happens next in your story, you will see that it's not a difficult task to plot. I know writers hate to do this, but it really does help and will move your book to become finished faster.

Now onto the middle:

1. The middle of the book is how the character deals with the problems and tries to get themselves out of their predicament. Where will their journey take them to get through this issue? Here is where the character "grows' as it were. They discover things about themselves they never knew existed inside them and hopefully these are good attributes. Sometimes their not, like they end up killing someone, or cause a death. maybe they cause a divorce or an accident, but whatever the case may be, they have to fix the problem.

They will discover who is their enemy and who has their back. Also, they will find out what the new rules are of this new world they've landed up in.

2. Next they realize they need courage to accomplish whatever the task may be. They will find out what their made of to get through this. But you need to give them two steps forward and one step back. It keeps the action going and the reader reading.

3. This is where your mini-plot comes in to the picture. Maybe they discover drugs hidden in the closet of a person their trying to help, or someone is trying to kill them to keep them from finding out something. Or maybe their closest friend is a turncoat and sent them in the wrong direction.

This is where figuring out on the side what's going to happen helps the plot to thicken. Conflict is our friend and we need them to move the story along. 

4. Once your character has a resolution, or at least with the smaller issue (the sub-plot) then the emotional factor of realizing there was a setback comes into play. So now the character needs to get themselves back on track to finally meet the ultimate goal, whatever that might be. 

5. Next, more sub-plots. You must keep the excitement building and the reader on the edge of their seat. The character can't always succeed and maybe needs to go a different route to get to the end goal. More sub

-plots are great in stories, especially thrillers and fantasy. You don't want to make it easy for your main character. That's too boring.

6. Have the character end up in a worse position than they were initially. Find them licking their wounds and wanting to give up. Everything is too hard to continue on. But suddenly either another character pushes them past their pity-party and they decide to figure out another way through the maze, or something happens to motivate them to change their minds and continue on.

They pick themselves up off the proverbial floor and dust themselves off, time to get tough and get through this to the end.

The ending:

Now onto the ending of the story. Once the character has hit rock bottom and they have something happen that pulls them back out, it's time to wrap up the book plot. There can be different reasons for what caused them to get moving again, but mine would be the "do or die" scenario. In other words, you can't just lie there and die, you have to keep going.

1.  The Epiphany. this is the moment of understanding, the moment of realization that has brought them to this dilemma. This understanding is something that's been staring them in the face all along but they were either too stubborn or blind to see the truth of it. Of course, you as the writer have given clues of this all along.

2. They have their eye on the way to accomplish their goal. You show them fighting through the crowd to get the bad guy, or to reach the girl of their dreams. They are still struggling a bit but there's light at the end of the tunnel. You give them a last little bit of doubt, but in the end they complete their destination.

3. If this is a series, there's nothing wrong with not giving away everything but to keep the reader wanting more. If it is the end of your story, make sure you wrap things up neatly. Let the reader know what happened to each of the important characters, basic outlines as it were. But there are times where you don't want to give all away to leave some of it to the readers imagination to figure out what they think ultimately happened, maybe to someone who was more obscure in the story.

Plotting out the basic points of your novel, even if they end up changing, will help you to revise your masterpiece and within a deadline time frame. You will see what works or not, and it can help you to sort everything out that's in your head.

I hope this has helped some of you with writing your novel. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask away.

Until next Friday, have a great week everyone!

Love, Lisa 


  1. Hi Lisa,
    Another good read. So far, so good. I'm following some of your leads, and they are working for me. Thank you so much. Blessings.

    1. Thanks Johnny! I hope this info is helping you and I hope everything is going well with your project!

  2. In many ways, you've described the Lester Dent Master Formula for writing fiction of all kinds (purportedly; I have no experience using it to write every genre). The Lester Dent formula is basically this (and keep in mind this is simplistic): separate the story into 4 segments: introduction and the problem, trouble, more trouble, heaps of trouble and resolution. One can further extrapolate this to make each chapter or each scene fit into this sort of paradigm. For series, you can fit 4 episodes into this paradigm for overarching plots.

    One thing I will note about sub-plots. They're great for mysteries and fantasy in general. For thrillers you have to be careful, though. Thrillers need to be break-neck pace, that's why they're called thrillers. They're roller coaster rides. There are a few moments where you can breathe, but for the most part they have to be flying. So while subplots are great for advancing things along, tying characters into the plot and bringing things further through the plot, they need to be handled in such a manner that the story continues at the frantic pace that makes it a thriller. =)

    1. Oh, and one tiny thing about the Lester Dent formula. If I recall correctly, you should always make it look like the antagonist has won and then have the hero pull ahead (though not miraculously; if it's unbelievable, your readers will be unimpressed). That would of course be in the final part.

    2. I've never heard of the Lester Dent Formula but I'm glad you approve, my friend! It's good to see you on here again, I've missed you! As far as the antagonist, that's exactly how I ended Fable so that's good to know! ;-)