• Timelines: Plotting

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    When you are deep into plotting a new novel or especially, a series, timelines are your friends. It's a tool that will help straighten out the details and create order. Obviously, a time line lays out the time period of your novel. Does it take place in 24 hours or does it span 24 years? Within ...

  • Plotting the Middle with the Hero’s Journey

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    The middle of a novel is one of the hardest places to plot. The set up is easy to imagine and the climax, of course, has to be exciting and emotional. But the sagging middle--how do you handle it? The Hero's Journey is one of the most useful of the 29 plot templates because it has ...

  • Master Plot for Pacing, Characterization and Action

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    Somewhere in your writer's head is a Master Plot, an idea of what a story or novel should be like, how it should progress. For writers who don't outline--the write-by-the-seat-of-their-pants writers--the Master Plot is hard-wired into their brains. For the rest of us, the idea of a Master Plot is helpful. Hero's Journey. The hero's journey ...

  • Bad, Worse, Worst: Plan your Plots

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    Every scene must end in disaster. Really? EVERY scene? OK. Most scenes. I only say that every scene must end in disaster because if I give writers wriggle room, they run with it. So, yes, let's work on the premise that every scene must end in disaster. What disaster? How do you choose? Progressions. In general, your disasters ...

  • Why Now? Believable Plots

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    One question that is often overlooked in plotting is "Why Now?" Let's say you want your character to decide to complain to the principal about someone bullying them. OK. Great. It's surely time Emily got some spunk and got Jeremy off her back. But why now? It must be explained by actions and motivations that go deeper ...