Last week I showed you a skeletal outline using a basic 3 act structure and breaking it down into five parts: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution. But today I promised you I would go deeper…
…into my process.
Get your filthy minds out of the gutter.
In part one
we talked about exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution which was an exercise that helped you find all of your major plot points. For a punster, this would be a good place to stop for you. You know all the big events in the book and there is just enough room for you to explore those characters and let things develop more organically. So you might not want to watch this next part. This is when shit gets cray. Look away! Avert your eyes!
DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER.
If you’re as nutters as me and you want to get all up in the guts of your novel here is how you do it.
While dicking around on the Pinterest, I found this:
Now I don’t know where these numbers come from or if they are even true, but this resonated with me for some reason. I already had all the big plot points, I just needed all the little moments that happened in between to get them to those points! And to do this, I can indulge in one of my favorite activities…LISTING!
Romance novels tend to fall in the 50,000 to 100,000 word range. Mine to tend to fall right around 70k so I set my scene count at 30 scenes.
I don’t have the scene list for In Her Closet
. I lost it when my MacBook Pro died–no, I don’t want to talk about it. I’m still not over it. Since I don’t have that list, I’m going to use the one for book two, Everything She Never Wanted
. I’ll only use the points from the first chapter. This is the first draft of the scene list so there are very few spoilers.
1. Yves wakes up early, startled from her slumber by someone banging on her door. Her first instinct is fear. Only a few months ago, Cesar, her ex-fiancé pushed his way into her apartment and assaulted her. But as she woke up a bit more, she realized that Cesar was in jail and her fear turned from fear for herself to fear that someone she loved might be hurt. She goes downstairs, approaches the door hesitantly, called to find out who it is. A somewhat familiar voice answers, “me”. Still apprehensive, she slips the chain into place and opens the door anyway. The person breaks the door down. Only after a brief tussle did she figure out that it is Elijah. They have sex on the stairs. Shows a “normal” day and the development of their relationship since IHC.
2. Yves arrives at Leaf Press for her meeting. She has a bit of a clash with Helena, the editor-in-chief. She surprises the acquisitions team by asking for her trademark licensing for Lust Diaries. Elijah is angry and feels blindsided by this request. Helena is pissed. When the meeting ends, Yves gets what she wants. Elijah takes her to his office to scold her, but can’t help but feel a little proud of her too. He decides to take her to The Den to celebrate.
After leaving Elijah’s office, Yves runs into Helena near the elevators. The EIC blatantly asks her if she’s sleeping with Elijah. Yves neither confirms or denies. Helena continues by informing her of their company fraternization policy and states that if they are in a relationship, Yves will be reassigned to another editor and Elijah would be fired. Yves is pissed off but recognizes that she may have been a little flippant about the consequences of dating her editor. She vows to talk to him about it.
3. Elijah picks up Yves they head to The Den. In the ride over, Yves tells him about her little talk with Helena. Hesitantly, she asks if there is any truth to Helena’s statements. Elijah vehemently disagrees. She accepts this truth, but still brings up the necessity of discretion in their relationship because of Helena’s suspicion. He agrees. They eat dinner and they agree to not let Helena ruin their evening.
So this is just the first chapter but in this list, I have managed to outline every single moment that needs to happen to get me to the point where these two meet.
Why do I do this? Well, I have noticed when I take the time to plot out the book, I can write faster. I finished Everything She Never Wanted in three months and I’m on track to finish Having it Both Ways just as quickly. Whether this produces good books has yet to be seen but that is the major reason why I decided to teach myself how to plot. When I wrote without plotting I would often write myself into things that needed major rewrites to straighten out or the word count would be fluffy from writing my way around plot problems. That’s not to say that I never encounter problems with plotting, but they do happen far less often.
Now, I’m not gonna lie, this part of the plotting process can take awhile. The second book in my Lust Diaries series took me almost a month plot , but during that time I was working on edits for book one so it didn’t seem like I was wasting time…if that makes sense. But this process has proven to be invaluable to me and one I will continue to use. It also has the added benefit of functioning as a synopsis if I decide to submit the book to a traditional publisher.
And that’s how I plot!
I know that it seems like a lot of work, but now that I have done all of this work I have a synopsis, a book blurb and I already know how the novel is going to end, which for me is the hardest part!
Next week we’ll talk about zero drafts and why I love them.