How to Write a Novel in 30 Days, The Flow Chart, Tip #6

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Angela Hunt’s Plot Skeleton

This article is Tip #6 of the series How to Write a Novel in 30 Days. 

Before you can commit to sitting down to write your novel in 30 days you need to have a map of where you’re going. Most authors do this differently. I haven’t met two authors who approach this in the same way. It’s personal and seems to have a lot to do with personalities.

Some authors follow Randy Ingermanson’s SNOWFLAKE method. Other’s follow Susie May Warren’s method at MY BOOK THERAPY. Others follow a flow chart so they have a loose idea of where they’re going, but are able to deviate slightly in case their characters want to take a short cut or get lost. Other writers like to plot everything on spreadsheets, researching the story to the Nth Degree.

I tend to be somewhere in the middle.

But, in my opinion, you need the elements of good fiction for your novel to be successful no matter what your method is like. And if you want to plow through 50K words in 30 days you better have some idea of where you’re going.

I recently read The Plot Skeleton, by Angela Hunt. If you don’t have a copy you might want to check it out HERE. I don’t know Angela, and I’m not getting a kick-back from her book, but when I find a good resource I like to share it. Angela teaches how to plot your novel before you begin. I enjoyed many of her illustrations in the book because they were of famous characters I know well like Dorothy in the WIZARD of OZ, and Maria in The Sound of Music.

Here’s an excerpt from the book on how to start your novel:

“Let us see this character up to his neck in ordinary life, and let us see how he handles stress. Let us hear what his neighbors think of him. Let us watch him grapple with an interesting problem, and then, through subtext, action, and reaction, let us see the hidden need in his life. Don’t explain it, just reveal it by letting us observe him in his ordinary world.”

Before you begin your 30 day adventure, you need to be familiar with some of the following terms and what they mean. How you plot is a personal thing, but find a way to include the elements that will make your story shine. Design a template, outline, or flowchart to match your personality, but have a road map to where you’re going. Think how fast you’ll be able to write if you have these elements ready to go!

  1. Ordinary world. Show your character’s life, give us a glimpse.
  2. Inciting incident. Something happens to your mc that disrupts his life and sends him on a quest.
  3. Setting. Where the story takes place.
  4. Identify main character’s greatest fear and happiest moment
  5. Main character’s external goal and internal goal
  6. Obstacles– what or who gets in the way of her achieving her goal
  7. What will happen if the main character doesn’t get what he wants
  8. The quest. The journey your character takes to find his new ordinary world. He will find a new ordinary world or return to his old one.
  9. The fork in the road. Your character has to choose which way to go. Each path/decision has consequences.
  10. The black moment. This is when everything that can go wrong does. The character’s worst fear happens.
  11. The climax. The ultimate point of tension in the story.
  12. The aha moment. That moment when your character discovers something internal about himself. Or when he realizes the lie he thought was the truth, was really a lie.
  13. The happily-ever-after–or not.

If you’d like to read more about How to Write a Novel in 30 Days check out posts 1 – 5 in the categories column to the right of this blog page.

How do you outline your novel?

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