What have I learned?

05 Jan

In my search for how to make my book compelling, I’ve found some interesting stuff that I thought I’d share.

The Plot Whisperer ran a really neat set of blog posts last month: The 2nd Annual International Plot Writing Month. These were in response to National Novel Writing Month and were meant to help both people with a first draft or just a concept flesh out their plots.

Write a Hot Plot from gives a super simple outline which is often times a perfect starting point.

Rachel Hamm also talked about an outline method that she used on her manuscript in progress in her blog post: Oh ho, Check Me Out (I know that title is misleading, but the method really helped inspire her when she was stuck.) She used note cards and color coding to lay out the plots of her different characters chronologically, which helped to show her what needed to be done to each individual storyline and where the characters were at any given time. (Super helpful idea for me, since I love using multiple POVs. But this could probably be helpful with stories told from only one perspective as well.)

Scott Westerfeld did a series of writing tips for Nano also, but the one I found interesting (at the moment) was Nano Tip #13: Pace Charts. The method was kind of similar to Rachel’s, in that it involves note cards and color coding, but he used it to a different end. He used the cards to find periods of action, tension, or “nothing” and thus shows the pace of the novel. Helping him decide where things needed tweaking so it wouldn’t be dull or too crammed with action.

On Advanced Fiction Randy Ingermanson explains yet another outlining method called The Snowflake Method. In this method, you start with a one sentence summary and then keep building on it until you’ve got a massive, detailed outline. (I’m not using this one at the moment, but I thought I’d mention it in case anyone else found it interesting.)

And of course, Hooked by Les Edgerton. I did a blog post about just this book earlier this week. Yes, it was so fantastic that I’m mentioning it again.

In case you couldn’t tell, I think I figured out that my problem was due in large part to not outlining. I wrote the story completely by the seat of my pants with no idea that I didn’t have much tension or conflict for the first half of the book. How did I miss that? So I’ve wasted all this time reworking a broken plot. But that’s behind me. Now, armed with my my note cards and plot planners, I am ready to reface my fictional world.

Happy writing!


Posted by on 2010/01/05 in Writing


2 responses to “What have I learned?

  1. rachelhamm

    2010/01/05 at 11:53

    hey Candice- I feel honored to be mentioned on your blog. I hope my seat-of-the-pants outlining style helps someone! It’s the first time I’ve outlined like this, so I’m excited to see how it works. And oh, yeah, the Blog Post Title, well what can I say? I like to get your attention! haha

    • Candice Beever

      2010/01/06 at 00:37

      Well, the title certainly got attention. LOL.

      I used your OCD note cards method, tweaked for my own purposes, and it really helped. It made it a lot easier to see the holes when I was only looking at one character’s plotline. Why didn’t I think of that? Oh well, thanks for posting your findings.


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