These are the guides I’ve used to help me figure out my novel when all I had was a vague idea of a character, and a really cool setting. They also serve a greater purpose, which is to get me HYPED for November, so I can start with excitement and optimism, instead of fear and dread.
Knowing Where You’re Going
A Guide to Structure and How to Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps are resources I use to make sure I don’t run out of steam by accidentally plowing through my plot in the first week. It helps me create good pacing and makes me feel better about the possibility of putting my protagonist through hell. I can think of additional plot points where she faces multiple hurdles while running the gauntlet. This gives us plenty of opportunities to root for her or empathize with her struggles, and it gives me plenty to write about! The three-act structure in the first link is particularly helpful for dividing the month into 10-day increments.
Getting to Know Your Protagonist
Creating Internal and External Conflict and Five Steps to Story Building are quick ways to understand your characters’ motivations. One of the coolest things about writing good characters, in my opinion, is the internal conflict. I also like the cognitive dissonance between what my character wants, and what she says she wants. I really like character’s whose desires are misguided and who don’t always know themselves until the end of their journey.
I haven’t tried this yet, but Power Editing with Robert Dugoni looks promising. He’s got a lot of good advice, and he breaks down your novel into pieces. This is good because I usually feel really overwhelmed when I go back to my novel at the end, and look at all the missing pieces, abandoned characters, and plot holes.
Do you have any links or tips you’d like to share? Comment below!