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The Plot Thickens:21 Ways to Plot Your Novel, including how to outline your novel

“O” is for outline in today’s #ThrowbackThursday

The Plot Thickens:21 Ways to Plot Your Novel, including how to outline your novel

The Plot Thickens

“O” is for outline is lifted from 2017’s AtoZChallenge.

I’m borrowing content for today’s subject of how to outline a book from The Plot Thickens:21 Ways to Plot Your Novel, a book I and a writing partner published about plotting.

IT’S TIME TO PUT SOME of these lessons into practice, and outline your story. I’m a big fan of outlining; it helps me stay organized and focused, and keeps me drifting off subject.

Your outline should be a living, breathing document, able to change as inspiration and your characters take you in new directions.

You’re going to spend a lot of time on your outline, tweaking it until order starts to take shape. Don’t be discouraged; it’s all worth it in the end.

First, brainstorm the heck out of your story. Nothing is off limits, nothing is a stupid idea. Write down all the elements you want to appear in your novel—the characters, their situations, the setting. Once you feel you’ve exhausted your imagination, start funneling your ideas into something more manageable by writing a summary, an abbreviated version of the main body of work.

Your outline should be a living, breathing document, able to change as inspiration and your characters take you in new directions.www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

Some of the things to consider:

  • Who is your main character? What happened in his back-story to shape him and prepare him for his challenge? Some authors make a complete character sketch for their major players. Some choose pictures, write bios, or create a vision board. Use whatever you’re most comfortable with to get a handle on your characters.
  • What conflicts will they face in the novel and how will they solve them? Remember, their problems will move the story.
  • What are their motivations to accept the challenges they’ve been presented?
  • What are they trying to achieve (their goals)? Their goals, motivations and conflicts should be internal as well as external.
  • Build your fictional world through setting.

Now list the plot points, the major milestones your character has to experience to get him to the end of the story. Use the Hero’s Journey section of this book to define them.

These plot points will become your scenes. Each scene must have a purpose. Something has to happen which drives the story forward. It will produce a change molded by conflict.

Summarize each scene in a few sentences. Use index cards, Post-Its, an Excel spreadsheet or (my favorite) Scrivener, to organize them.

Elements of a scene:

  • Who is in the scene?
  • Where does it take place?
  • Whose point of view is used?
  • Do the decisions made by the character move him closer or further from his goal?

Do your subplots tie into the main story?

Does your character suffer and grow and change until he can’t go back to the way he was at the story’s beginning?

You probably have an idea of how long you want your novel to be. Using the three or four act structure, break your estimated word count into the appropriate sections. Place your “must-have” scenes where you think they should fit in the overall structure. Take a step back.

Believe it or not, you’ve outlined your novel! Don’t be surprised if you deviate from it. Characters have a habit of taking over, but you’re in the driver’s seat!

Congratulate yourself and start writing!

Tomorrow’s #AtoZChallenge* will focus on the letter “P”.

#AtoZChallenge

 

 

 

Blessings until then,

Cheryl

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Pre-order Love’s Brilliant Wreckage

Love's Brilliant Wreckage book cover Pre-order Love’s Brilliant Wreckage

Available for pre-order for 99¢

Releasing on June 19, 2018 for 99¢

Price increases on June 26, 2018 at $3.99

The first time she stepped into the pages of a book, she delivered a baby boy.
When graduate student nurse Annie Faraday enters books to deliver babies, she blames the illusions on multiple stresses. Her fiancé fights in the bloodiest battles in the Pacific Theater; her family is falling apart; and her boss, who is also her future father-in-law, controls whether she graduates from nursing school.
Now, with the end of the war within tantalizing reach, and the return of her beloved Jimmy, she can no longer find excuses for her visions. She must dig deep into her family’s unspeakable past to discover whether she’s traveling into an alternate world, or following the trail of insanity blazed by her mother. Which is real?

Read an excerpt here.

 

Kobo:https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-s-brilliant-wreckage

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1389283815

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/loves-brilliant-wreckage-cheryl-sterling/1128760650?ean=2940155513483

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-s-brilliant-wreckage

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Use numerology to define fictional character traits. Learn more at www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

Create Characters Through Numerology

For today’s #ThrowbackThursday, we’re in the Wayback Machine, traveling to another of my favorite posts where we explore how to create characters through numerology.

Use numerology to define fictional character traits. Learn more at www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

Use numerology to create characters

 

In today’s AtoZChallenge, the letter “N” is for Numerology

Today, we continue exploring character development, using Numerology as our base.

Numerology traces its origins to the ancient Greece mathematician, Pythagoras, one of the founders of geometry (Yuck!). He discovered the relationship between mind and energy and the almost uncanny match of personality traits based on one’s birth date.

In recent times, author Dan Millman’s book, The Life You Were Born to Live, has renewed the study of numerology.

A quick overview of each life path number

  1. Creative, confidence, self-motivated
  2. cooperation, balance, peacemakers
  3. expressive, sensitive, optimistic
  4. stable, practical, hardworking
  5. freedom, discipline, adventurous
  6. acceptance, nurturing, compassionate
  7. trusting, intuitive, pessimistic
  8. ambitious, goal-oriented, blunt
  9. humanitarian, compassionate, generous

How can I use numerology to define my character’s personality?

First, start with their birthday. I know, fictional characters don’t usually have birthdays. Look at your era, at astrological signs, and at numerology traits to determine a date.

Let me give you an example. Annie Faraday, the main character in the book I’ll write later this year (it’s a WWII story), was born on January 20, 1920. Adding her birth date together 0+1+2+0+1+9+2+0, we arrive at 15. Taking this one step further, add 1+5 to arrive at Annie’s life path number of 6. We express this as 15/6, as the “1” and “5” are minor influencers.

Turning to Mr. Millman’s book, we see the characteristics of a “6” personality are:

  • Nurturing
  • Symathetic
  • Compassionate
  • Loyal
  • Protective

“6’s” are often called caretakers.

Each characteristic has a negative side to it. “6’s” can become anxious, suspicious, jealous or unstable.

The “1” minor influence in Annie’s numbers gives her focus, strong-will, courage, and possibly makes her stubborn and selfish.

The “5” minor influence can make her adventurous, flexible, social, or unstable and careless.

As you can see, Annie can be a complex character, but isn’t that what you want for the characters you write?

And remember, not all “6” are alike, as not all Geminis are alike. There is no monopoly on a trait.

Writing characters is a complex task

Many factors should be taken into consideration when creating a character. Take me, for example.

  • Astrology (I’m a Leo, bossy and confident).
  • I’m also the first born (responsible, driven, confident).
  • I’m a 31/4 (imaginative and optimistic from the “3”, independent and stongwilled from the “1”, and the “4” life path number is characteristic of a step-by-step approach. “4’s” are often called the builder.)
  • On the Myers-Briggs test, I come out as either an INTJ (imaginative and strategic thinkers) or an ENTJ, (bold, imaginative and strong-willed leaders). My classification depends on how introverted (I) or extroverted (E) I’m feeling when I take the test.

Numerology can create friction between your characters

People with a life path number of 4 are hard working,

People with the lifepath number of 2 are practical and sensitive. They are often called The Balancer.I’m a “4”. The builder. Step-by-step. Start at A and end at Z.

My husband is a “2”. The balancer. Considers all contingencies before making a decision.

I want to start. He wants to know if the possibility of rain will influence the decision. Or a full moon. Or if it’s a Tuesday.

Life has been easier once I discovered his vacillation is the perfect character trait of a “2”. He can’t help himself.

I found this chart online that will tell you the compatibility of people with two different life numbers. I’ll be using it in the future.

Numerology is one way to create your fictional characters. What method do you use?

Blessings until then,

Cheryl

If you’d like to continue reading my blog posts, please use the entry form to the right.

If you know of someone who would enjoy learning more about Numerology, use the buttons on the left to share this post.

For an in-depth reading, check with Tricia at http://www.triciasenergygarden.com

 

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