Plotting Fiction: Plot And Place Sell

Plotting Fiction: Plot And Place

One of the easiest ways to improve your fiction is to think about where it happens. When you’re plotting fiction, consider your settings and locations. Your readers will thank you. Your fiction will be more entertaining, and that’s your goal — to entertain your readers.

In practice, I tend to work on settings after I’ve finished the first draft. Usually I’m too eager to write the novel or short story to think of anything other than the characters and plot. Happily, I often get ideas for scene locations while I’m writing. But I know I can do more.

So, in the second draft, after I’ve read through the material, and have deleted “junk” scenes and characters, I focus on settings. By junk material, I mean scenes which add nothing to the plot, and characters who aren’t needed.

A tip: you have no way of knowing what’s junk, and what isn’t, until you’ve finished the first draft. In your first draft — press on. Onward, ever onward. :-)

Here’s an example. In a current novel, which I’m ghostwriting for a client, most of my scenes take place in: the heroine’s apartment, the hero’s home, and the heroine’s office. I know this, but at the moment (I’m about 75% done), I can’t think about it too much. I just want to finish the draft.

I’ve made a list of locations I want to use: a race track, a luxury yacht, and a rodeo. If I stopped writing now, and rewrote several scenes so that they happen in the locations I want, I’d lose momentum.

The new settings will change a lot of the novel: they’ll affect both the characters, and the plot itself. So I have a lot of rewriting in store, but I want to finish the major scenes of the story before I get into that.

Once I’ve got a draft, I’ve got something that’s a book. I can play with it as much as I please at that stage. If I tinker now, I’ll lose track of many of the threads. It’s very hard to keep the entire action of a novel in your head, as you know if you’re in the middle of writing one. :-)

Settings first, or later?

My writing students often ask whether they should map out their scene locations before they start writing.

My response: whatever works. Whatever occurs to you. WRITE.

Your primary aim when you start your fiction, whether it’s a short story, or a novel, is to finish it. If you spend too much time debating the pros and cons of a setting, or anything else, rather than writing, you’ll lose inspiration.

The dreaded inner editor wakes up: you’re writing WHAT? Oh no, sorry, that will never do. It’s been done before, and moreover…. yada, yada, kvetch, kvetch… And before you know it, your inspiration dims. And dies.

If ideas for locations occur to you while plotting a scene, write it. Don’t stop to research, just write. Research later.

On the other hand, if you end up basing most of your scenes in your lead character’s house and backyard, and you know that you need more variation, just remember it. Make a note to brainstorm locations once you’ve completed the first draft.

After your first draft, you’ll be totally inspired when you come up with some wonderful locations. This means that you’ll look forward to rewriting, and before you know it, your second draft will be done.

And your novel (or short story) will be much improved, because you spent time working on settings. Have fun. :-)

Hot Plots: Craft Hot-Selling Fiction in 5 Minutes (or less)

How To Write Commercial Fiction With Hot Plots

The big secret of making money from your fiction is writing a lot. And publishing strategically and consistently. Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program ensures that authors can make money from short stories, and all kinds of fiction. Moreover, whatever you’re publishing, you have a global audience.

You’re about to discover the easiest, fastest, and most fun plotting method ever. You can use it for all your fiction, whether you’re writing short stories, novellas or novels. Take control of your fiction now, and publish more, more easily. Discover Hot Plots.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Plotting Fiction: How To Create Richer Stories

Plotting Fiction: How To Create Richer Stories

You’re writing short stories, or novels, and you want to make your fiction powerful. Plotting fiction is the key, not only to happy readers, but also to more book sales.

If readers love your story, they’ll buy other stories you’ve written. They may even become fans. One way create richer, more powerful fiction is by layering.

Plots, subplots, and layers — what’s the difference?

Your plot’s what happens in your story. A subplot is what happens to one character, who’s not your lead character. A subplot is a little story within a story. A layer’s a plot strand for your lead character.

Let’s see how layering works.

You’re writing a mystery novel. Here’s the basic plot… On a Sunday afternoon, the body of a woman was discovered by the side of the road, a few miles out of a small town.

Since the town’s so small, everyone soon knows that the body’s that of Tiffany, the beauty salon owner.

Your lead character’s a homicide detective, Jane, who’s divorced and is raising her daughter. Your primary plot involves Jane solving Tiffany’s murder. You’ve got a subplot: the story of Kelly, Jane’s young daughter. Kelly’s just turned 14, and wants to live with her father. She resents the restrictions that her mother places on her.

So your lead character, Jane, has three plot layers:

  • The investigation into the murder of Tiffany, on which she’s the lead investigator;
  • Jane’s worsening relationship with her daughter, Kelly. Jane struggles with guilt — she knows spends more time at work than she should, if she wants to be a good mother. Kelly told her mother she that she’s more interested in her job, than she is in her own daughter;
  • Jane’s also dealing with resentment from one of her colleagues. He resents the fact that she was promoted over him. She has to decide what to do about him. He’s undermining her authority. The colleague’s taunting her about a decade-old case. Jane doesn’t want that case reopened. (This “old case” strand has the potential to become yet another layer, if you want to create four layers.)

Plot layers create richer stories, and multi-dimensional characters

If you use the plotting process in Hot Plots, you’ll develop plot layers naturally. I prefer this method of layering, because it’s organic. However, you can weave in a plot layer at any time.

Think about your own life. You have lots going on. Your lead characters can have more going on too, once you create some layers. As we’ve said, you’ll create richer stories when you do this.

There’s a danger however. It’s this. It’s easy to lose track of your layers. If that happens, you end up with a mess: you’ll confuse readers.

Managing your layers: each layer needs to be resolved

By the end of your short story, or novel, each layer in your plot needs to be resolved.

In Jane’s story, Jane solves the mystery, and discovers Tiffany’s killer. She also improves her relationship with Tiffany, and deals with her resentful colleague.

You can manage and track your layers in any way that makes sense to you. One of the reasons I adore Scrivener is because the program makes it so easy to keep track of everything. I create Scrivener Collections not only for elements of the plot, but also for layers.

All I need to do is collect all the documents which relate to the layer into titled Collections: viz. — Layer 1, Layer 2 etc. Then I can click on a Collection, and read through the various documents.

This is handy not only when I’m writing, and I wonder where I’ve got to with a subplot or layer, but also in editing, when I need to make sure that I’ve tied up all the loose ends.

Plotting fiction is huge fun. How many layers in your current story? Add as many layers as make sense to you. Creating layers is fun, and makes your stories richer. Your readers will love it. :-)

Hot Plots: Craft Hot-Selling Fiction in 5 Minutes (or less)

How To Write Commercial Fiction With Hot Plots

The big secret of making money from your fiction is writing a lot. And publishing strategically and consistently. Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program ensures that authors can make money from short stories, and all kinds of fiction. Moreover, whatever you’re publishing, you have a global audience.

You’re about to discover the easiest, fastest, and most fun plotting method ever. You can use it for all your fiction, whether you’re writing short stories, novellas or novels. Take control of your fiction now, and publish more, more easily. Discover Hot Plots.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Creating Characters In Fiction: No One’s Perfect

Creating Characters In Fiction: No One’s Perfect

Writing fiction is fun, especially creating characters. You’re their creator, so your story people can be anything you’d like them to be. You can write about heart surgeons, astronauts, exotic dancers, cowboys… You get to live a whole new life with your characters.

Beware of making your characters too perfect however. Perfection isn’t for human beings.

My characters arrive in an instant; I show you the process in Hot Plots. Mostly they’re a mess, which is ideal.

Check the main character in your current project. Does he or she have faults? Excellent. As we said in Love Me, Love My Flaw, character flaws are fun to write:

“(they) can make your short story or novel. I enjoy creating cynical, snarky characters, and characters with a short fuse. Think about your favorite story characters, and their flaws.”

Make sure they have flaws. :-)

How to create a character: create a flaw, and a problem

Let’s say that you’re writing a humorous mystery novel. Your main character owns a diner in her small town. She’s wonderful. Everyone loves her.

Stop… NO. Everyone doesn’t love her. That’s impossible. And worse — it’s boring.

Give her a flaw. Maybe she’s the eldest of a large family. Her mother died when your character was 12. Her father’s an alcoholic. She and her five siblings were forced to raise themselves. It wasn’t easy. It’s made her intolerant of anyone who’s lazy, and who cuts corners. So she regularly fires staff who let her down. She won’t give anyone a second chance.

As your story begins, she’s just fired her third cook in six months. She’s doing all the cooking herself. She’s not in a good mood.

Can you see that by making your character imperfect, you’ve made the character more interesting? And you’ve given your character challenges, which is always good.

Her problem is: no cook.

Of course, her real problem is that she hasn’t come to terms with her childhood, and that will keep causing problems, until she sees that in herself.

Then, start the story

Once you’ve got a main character, and a problem, you can start your story. You’re writing a humorous mystery, so someone dies. Let’s say that the cook your character fired yesterday is found dead. In his boss’s kitchen. That is, in your main character’s home. Someone’s brained him with a Le Creuset cast iron fry pan.

It wasn’t your heroine, even though she had a ferocious row with him before she fired him.

Your story’s off and running. All you need to do is work out who killed the cook, and why. Also why he’s in his boss’s kitchen. You’ll need to show that your main character comes to an understanding of herself too, by the end of your humorous mystery.

No one’s perfect: create flawed characters

When you create a character flaw, make it plausible, and make it something with which your readers can empathize.

In the humorous mystery above, readers will understand why your character is the way she is. They’ll empathize, and they’ll like your character.

Creating characters in fiction is fun. Just remember that each character has a flaw, and a problem, before your kick off the main action of your story.

Hot Plots: Craft Hot-Selling Fiction in 5 Minutes (or less)

How To Write Commercial Fiction With Hot Plots

The big secret of making money from your fiction is writing a lot. And publishing strategically and consistently. Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program ensures that authors can make money from short stories, and all kinds of fiction. Moreover, whatever you’re publishing, you have a global audience.

You’re about to discover the easiest, fastest, and most fun plotting method ever. You can use it for all your fiction, whether you’re writing short stories, novellas or novels. Take control of your fiction now, and publish more, more easily. Discover Hot Plots.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Write A Novel: Quick Tips To Get Started (and keep going)

Write A Novel: Quick Tips To Get Started (and keep going)

You want to write a novel, but you’re not sure how to get started. We’ve got lots of tips to help. But first — are you sure you want to write a novel? Why not practice with some short fiction?

Novellas and short stories sell well on Amazon, because of Kindle Unlimited. Subscribers to the Kindle service can read anything they like, for free. You get paid whenever a reader reads more than ten per cent of one of your ebooks. As you can imagine, it’s very easy for readers to get to 10% of a short story, and… ka ching.

Have fun writing your novel: if you’re having fun, so are readers. For the first time in decades, writing fiction can be profitable. Will YOU make lots of money? Probably not. But if you love to tell stories, you can share them with the world at the click of the Publish button… what’s not to like about that?

Story Power: short stories made easy

Story Power

Story Power — insider secrets of writing short stories and making them work for you: writing serials, and series.

Write with me: over four weeks, you’ll discover HOW to not only write short fiction, but also make money at it. I make a very nice income ghostwriting fiction for clients, and also selling my own short fiction under various genre pen names.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Fun Writing Prompts To Kick Off Your Commercial Fiction

Fun Writing Prompts To Kick Off Your Commercial Fiction

I love writing prompts, and I give them to my writing students. Writing commercial fiction can be challenging. You need to warm up, and you can do that with writing prompts.

Hate the thought that you’re wasting time? You’re NOT… Be sure to save all your writing in your Idea Bank:

“Ideas are gold to a writer. The more you encourage them, the more prolific (and wealthy) you’ll be.”

Create an Idea Bank, and look on the writing from your writing prompts as investments into that bank.

Four writing prompts you can use today

I mentioned these prompts here:

  1. Heroes. You’re a character in a novel; the hero, or heroine. Describe yourself — physically, and emotionally. What’s your greatest challenge? How will you overcome it? Write 200 words.
  2. Movie message. Think about your favorite movie. Who’s your favorite character? Why? Describe this character. What is this character showing you? Write 150 words.
  3. Mood muse. Choose a CD, or something from your music collection, or listen to a music streaming service. Play. Listen. Allow yourself to become absorbed by the music. Now, write for ten minutes, stream of consciousness style. Write anything at all.
  4. Brain twister. Write, using these four words somewhere in the piece of writing: space, coffee, rates, birth. You can write anything you choose. Just start writing. Set a timer for ten minutes. Stop writing when the timer sounds.

How to use your prompts

You need to warm up before you write. So, before you start a writing session, grab a timer. Set it for ten minutes, and use one of the writing prompts.

Use each prompt several times. Here’s why: repeating a prompt teaches you that your writing changes. Each time you use a prompt, the results will be different… and better.

Save all your writing in your Idea Bank.

If you maintain your Idea Bank, you’ll write more — and your writing will improve.

Story Power: short stories made easy

Story Power

Story Power — insider secrets of writing short stories and making them work for you: writing serials, and series.

Write with me: over four weeks, you’ll discover HOW to not only write short fiction, but also make money at it. I make a very nice income ghostwriting fiction for clients, and also selling my own short fiction under various genre pen names.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.