Almost every writer I know uses a different approach to writing their novel. The methods writer’s use are as unique as the individuals.
Today, Young adult author and guest blogger, Ann Lee Miller, is here to share what’s worked for her.
I wrote two novels without plotting. Backtracking to fix things as a result of ninth hour twists drove me crazy. I resisted outlining and plotting because I’m not naturally an organized, methodical person. But when editors praised my writing, yet rejected my books due to plot weaknesses, I had to learn some new tricks.
I tried Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake method (available free here) with my third novel because Randy clearly explains each step. I liked the method because it was a compromise between plotting and not plotting, but I ended up with a novel half the length I desired. I used Karen Wiesner’s First Draft in 30 Days to help me fatten up my story by weaving in more subplots. I found her method to be complex and tedious, but effective.
For my fourth novel I borrowed much from Weisner—completing all research and mapping out each scene in the book before starting to write—and ended up with 30,000 words in my detailed outline. While this type of plotting is arduous at best, I am completely satisfied with the result and intend to live out the rest of my writing days as a born-again plotter.
I also use Angela Hunt’s plot skeleton to insure each of my characters has hidden and obvious needs, an overarching goal, inciting incident, escalating conflict, climax, blackest moment, moment of decision, lesson learned, and resolution. [See diagram below.]
Anyone who shares my internal lack of order may benefit from imposing organization on their writing by outlining.
Here’s a blurb about Ann’s book:
Stuck in sleepy New Smyrna Beach one last summer, Raine socks away her camp pay checks, worries about her druggy brother, and ignores trouble: Cal Koomer. She’s a plane ticket away from teaching orphans in Africa, and not even Cal’s surfer six-pack and the chinks she spies in his rebel armor will derail her.
The artist in Cal begs to paint Raine’s ivory skin, high cheek bones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would caterwaul him into his parents’ life. No thanks. The girl was self-righteous waiting to happen. Mom served sanctimony like vegetables, three servings a day, and he had a gut full.
Rec Director Drew taunts her with “Rainey” and calls her an enabler. He is so infernally there like a horsefly—till he buzzes back to his ex.
Raine’s brother tweaks. Her dream of Africa dies small deaths. Will she figure out what to fight for and what to free before it’s too late?
For anyone who’s ever wrestled with her dreams.
To purchase Ann’s book click here.
Here’s a recent five star review of Ann’s novel, KICKING ETERNITY:
Ann Lee Miller’s Kicking Eternity has it all – real people, real Summer Camp and real Jesus followers. The kids are there, along with the teens and twenty somethings. Home schoolers and druggies. None of them stereotypes, in my opinion.
The relationship drama is real – not forced or trite.
I loved the feel of the special night campfires – been there, done that, and still blessed 40 years later. Very excited about the upcoming books, which look to be stories of some of the characters. Thanks Ann!
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