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Posts from the ‘plot outlines’ Category

Plotting My Novel – Kiss Me, Chloe

Kiss Me, Chloe, by Linda George

While going through this book to polish and make the last tweakings, I realized I wasn’t happy with the ending.  It just didn’t have the punch I wanted–the punch that I try to put into all my romances.  It didn’t have enough PLOT.

The answer to this dilemma, of course, was to test the plot using the method I described in my book  Fill-in-the-Blank Plotting, published by Crickhollow Books, which is available on Amazon: Fill-in-the-Blank Plotting

Fill-in-the-Blank Plotting, by Linda George

I pulled out my plotting boards,  with the 12 steps of the Hero’s Journey on one board, and chapter numbers divided into the Three-Act Structure on the other. I went through the novel and wrote the key scenes on cards and placed them into the steps of the Hero’s Journey.  Then, I moved all those cards to the Three-Act Structure board.

It was easy to see, once the cards were in the Three-Act Structure, that the plot had big holes in it!  There simply wasn’t enough plot in the last quarter of the book–where the climax of the story occurs.  I had to rewrite the last fourth of the book, inserting a subplot that would put Chloe into a position of having to choose between “the lesser of two evils.”  This decision hits the reader as hard as it hits Chloe, and it casts doubt on what Chloe will have to do to make it all work out for the best.

This book uses a tried-and-true romance novel premise–one woman, two men.  Chloe has to choose between Greg and Kyle.  In the original version,  Chloe–no matter who she chose–would’ve felt bad about rejecting the other man.  That simply won’t work in a romance.  And yet, there have to be good qualities in each man to create doubt in the reader’s mind about who she’s going to choose.  By inserting a harrowing decision, which puts Chloe into the position of having to make her choice based entirely on love, I knew the reader would agonize along with her–wondering the whole time how it would work out, and hoping for the happy ending all romances are required to have.

That’s the magic of the Hero’s Journey combined with the Three-Act Structure, with the elements of the plot displayed on a board where it’s easy to see the gaps in the story–and how to fill those gaps.

I’m exceptionally pleased now with the ending of this book.

I think you’ll be pleased, too.

Filling in the Plotting Blanks

Thanks to everyone who contributed to past posts!

I want to talk about what is involved in “filling in the blanks” when plotting a story.  Having been an elementary teacher for so many years, and knowing how much my students liked “filling in the blanks” instead of writing essay answers, I longed for a way to do that when plotting a story or a novel.  When I learned about the three-act structure, it helped tremendously, but I still had to rely on my mind to tell me, “What happens next?”

Then, I heard about the Hero’s Journey, but the question remained.  Then, Ridley Pearson talked about writing scene descriptions on index cards for his best-sellers, and I realized he was, in essence, filling in blanks in his plot.  By combining all three methods on plotting boards, I created blanks I could fill–first the 12 steps of the Journey.  Then, after moving those filled blanks to the three-act structure, I filled in the blanks around them in the structure.  Once all the blanks had been filled, the plot was done–along with the first draft of the synopsis!

Can a novel actually be planned by “filling in blanks?”  YES!!!  And the Hero’s Journey tells us what goes in the blanks.

Writers who have heard me talk about this combination of methods have said the new method was “revolutionary!”  A revolution is simply a new way of circling the same facts.  And that’s what FILL-IN-THE-BLANK PLOTTING is.  A new way of looking at an old challenge.

If you have another way of plotting that works for you, please share it here!  Perhaps, as happened in my experience, a new way of circling the task of planning a story may be born!

Fiction Plotting Workshop for Your Writers’ Group

I am available to speak for clubs or conference! 

My most requested topics are plotting, synopsis, and strong writing. 

Contact me through this site by leaving a comment and your contact information and I will get back to you ASAP.