Tag Archives: genre

Plotting Fiction Made Easy: Character, Situation, Choices

Plotting Fiction Made Easy: Character, Situation, Choices

If you find plotting fiction a challenge, let’s look at a super-easy way to do it. You start with a character in a situation, then give the character good and bad choices. Your character will follow his own nature: his nature dictates the choices he makes… and this creates your plot.

In essence, simply by creating a specific character, you’ve created the seeds of a plot. When you get stuck, all you need to do is remember your character’s essential nature. What would he do? Yes, your character can act against his essential nature, when forced — that’s the fun of writing, and plotting. 🙂

A character, and a situation

What’s the difference between a story, and a plot? Your story’s what happens. Your plot is the specifics of how, when, where and why it happens.

You can sum up your story in a sentence. Cinderella’s the story of a poor girl who marries a prince. You know the plot. 🙂

Tip: you don’t need to know your story, or your plot , to start writing. They can develop as you write.

You just need a character, and a situation. For example, Cinderella is a good, sweet and kind girl with nasty relatives, who wants to go to the prince’s ball. Over the centuries, authors have created many variations on the basic story of Cinderella.

(If you’re ever desperate for a story, you can try a variation of the Cinderella tale, or any other tale you choose.)

Here’s a variation of Cinderella from which you could derive a character and plot.

Your character — let’s call her Christine — missed out on college. She was taking care of her grandmother, who had Alzheimers’. Here’s the situation: Christine promised her grandmother she’d use her legacy to go to college. But there’s no money: medical bills swallowed the legacy.

Choices: your plot is the choices your character makes (and how those choices change him)

Our character, Christine, is broke, and there are still big medical bills to pay. She doesn’t have any choice about that: she gets a job as a barmaid, while she fixes up her grandmother’s house as best she can, so she can sell it.

We need to give Christine two choices: a good one, and a bad one.

Good choice: go to night school, and get a better job, so she can save money for college.

Bad choice? Anything you like. Maybe Christine meets someone at the bar who offers her a job as an exotic dancer.

Tip: if you haven’t thought about genre yet, now’s the time. You need to shape your fiction to fit a genre.

Your character’s good and bad choices depend on the fiction genre in which you’re writing

Christine’s 21 — bonanza. New Adult is a hugely popular genre. She’s got some life choices to make, so her story fits into that genre.

Let’s say that New Adult fiction leaves you cold — it does me, I can’t read that genre with any interest at all. What about the mystery genre? Could you include a mystery? Or — fantasy… Or could you turn Christine’s story into a paranormal romance?

Of course you could. You can write anything you like — it’s your story.

  • Mystery: Christine’s new friend, who’s also a barmaid, disappears. She sends Christine a mysterious text message, and vanishes. Her body is found, and… etc.
  • Paranormal: a tall, dark and very handsome stranger knocks on Christine’s door late one night. She invites him in… he’s a vampire, and … etc.

To repeat: you can write whatever you like. Start with a character, put the character into any situation you like, and then give your character some choices. Remember, those choices depend on the genre in which you’re writing. Have fun. 🙂

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

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I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.

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Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

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Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 3
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How To Write Novels And Short Stories Readers Love: 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.

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Updated: March 3, 2018

Write A Novel: You Must Start It, and End It

Write A Novel: You Must Start It, and End It

If you want to write a novel, the novel’s beginning and ending are equally important. As the old saying goes, your novel’s beginning sells your book. The ending sells your next book.

I’ve been working with a group of new novelists, and each one has a complete novel. Sort of. I say “sort of” because their novels are buried amongst a lot of stuff which isn’t needed.

Each student’s novel is like a little treasure chest, buried in a pond. It’s up to the novelist to haul up the treasure chest, refurbish it, and polish up the jewels within.

Of course, these new novelists have lots of reasons they need the pond, but your readers aren’t interested in a pond. They want the treasure.

In other words, they want a story, with a beginning, a page-turning, suspenseful middle, and a good ending.

“This is the story of…”

If you’re currently writing a novel, or have just finished a novel, sum up the story in ONE sentence. Begin your sentence: “This is the story of…”

Just for a giggle, here’s Gone With the Wind in a sentence: Money-hungry Southern belle falls in and out of love; should’ve tried therapy.

Here’s the IMDB on Gone With the Wind: “A manipulative Southern belle carries on a turbulent affair with a blockade runner during the American Civil War.”

Can you sum up your story in a sentence? Of course you can. Write your sentence. If you can’t write a sentence, it’s just about 100 per cent certain that you don’t have a novel.

You may have a case of: this happens, then that happens, then something else happens, and something else happens…

That summed up the situation with my students. A lot of STUFF happened, most of that stuff wasn’t needed. They needed the treasure chest.

Got your sentence? Excellent.

Your Novel Begins When…

You have your story, in one sentence. Now think about when the story begins.

I’m currently rereading, for about the fourth time, Carla Kelly’s The Summer Campaign. The novel begins with a proposal, which the heroine, Onyx, accepts.

Where you start your novel is up to you. Don’t start it too early. I love The Summer Campaign, but it started a little too early. Carla Kelly could have lost the entire beginning, and started it when the highwaymen attacked Onyx’s coach. The proposal was a lot of yada yada; we see what a horrible person the vicar is later in the book. He isn’t a main character, there wasn’t any reason to introduce him at the beginning. Onyx’s relatives aren’t that important, either. They appear and then vanish. The book would have been stronger without them cluttering up the first few pages.

However, it’s up to YOU where you start. As we’ve said, don’t start your novel too early. Start when the main action of the story starts.

Your Novel Ends When…

Your novel’s ending is always in the beginning. This is why I said: start when the main action of the story starts. It’s great if your ending refers back to the beginning, in some way: by location, by an event, or by something that someone says.

You can start your novel in any way you choose, but your novel’s ending ALWAYS meets the expectations of your genre. So, if you’re writing a romance, it’s a forgone conclusion that it ends with a Happily Ever After (HEA.) If it doesn’t your readers won’t forgive you. If you’re writing a mystery, your novel ends when your sleuth solves the mystery.

When you’ve got an ending, and a beginning, you’ve got your treasure chest. Now you can polish the jewels, and paint and lacquer the chest.

When you’re writing your first novel, you’re learning a lot about yourself, and about your writing. Find your treasure chest by writing a one-sentence summary. Then decide where your novel starts, and where it ends.

124 Powerful Fiction Writing Tips: Win Readers And Fans, And Increase Your Sales Today

124 Powerful Fiction Writing Tips: Win Readers And Fans, And Increase Your Sales Today

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You want to write fiction. Perhaps you're a self-publishing author — or perhaps you're a ghostwriter, and want to offer fiction writing services to clients.

Whatever your needs and dreams, this book, 124 Powerful Fiction Writing Tips: Win Readers And Fans, And Increase Your Sales Today, will help.

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Angela Booth’s Easy-Write Process: Write The EASY WAY… Like a Professional Writer

Angela Booth’s Easy-Write Process: Write The EASY WAY… Like a Professional Writer

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If you've ever dreaded writing, or felt that writing was too hard, you'll love the Easy-Write Process.

The Easy-Write Process changed my life; I developed it over several years of struggling with writing. When I taught the Easy-Write process to my writing students, they achieved great results too. Please enjoy the Easy-Write Process -- I wish you much success with it.

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