Stories begin with an idea. Where one comes up with that idea varies person to person. Mine usually come from tidbits of overheard conversation, snatches of songs or various things I witness. Sometimes I have dreams where small scenes will stick and spin off in to something larger. Most of my novels, however, begin on a whim. Porcelain Doll began after I wrote a short scene in which a girl had a hostile, supernatural encounter after fleeing from an irritating situation. People seemed to enjoy it, and it just kind of went from there. You wouldn’t believe the amount of bashing I got for using ‘Jasper’ as a name for one of the few vampire characters that appear in the story. Insomnia on the other hand has been a long mulled over project but the actual plot was inspired by the writing here as corny as it looks.
Good luck guessing the plot according to that picture. Ahahaha. Anyway.
So! Where do you go once you have your idea? Well, if you’re like me you’ll dive in to it with no planning whatsoever. And then you lose what few notes you did take in the pile of unorganized documents on your computer.
At any rate, you should likely do an outline. You can organize it how you will, but when I actually did bother to outline a novel I was working on, it looked a little like this …..
Blurb: A two or three sentence long summary.
Name: Age: Gender: Race: Basic personality / appearance / quirks / history /etc. : Importance in the story.
Place: Size: Culture: etc.
A detailed summary, with character names, specific places, and moments of important in bold font.
Chapter Two – etc. You get the idea.
And then you go through and figure out plot holes. Devices. Etc. It doesn’t have to be detailed, it can be as basic as My book is about this. But it probably won’t help you very much. Although it’ll be a pain in the ass to organize, you can give it a go. I suggest downloading Y Writer if you don’t feel like setting everything up manually in folders and such. Y Writer will give you different pages to put things and ask for the specifics, so you don’t have to try and remember if you filled out everything. You can download Y Writer here. I use it sometimes, mostly for Porcelain Doll which has a lot of moments that I need to remember and more often don’t.
Once you’ve got the outline, time to start writing! If you’re like me, you get that one scene in your head and it just goes from there. Or doesn’t. Because you’re not there yet, but you really, really want to write that part. Kind of like when you get stuck on a filler area of a game and know you’re about to hit something awesome but you have to put up with all this bullshit. Take my advice – do not skip your ‘filler’, even if it isn’t really filler but just not as exciting as what is to come – because it helps develop your character, and keeps the reader from falling over and dying because they can’t comprehend what is going on because it moves too fast. Run on sentences. Ahem.
You’re done with the first draft. If you followed your perfect outline, you shouldn’t have too much in the way of plot holes – what? What do you mean Sherry is mentioned in chapter five and then just disappears? That can’t be right. Where did she go? The second draft is where you find out where the hell did Sherry go she does this all the time fff. Here is where you can check your grammar, your spelling, your plot holes, your plot devices – is it plausible? This refers to the setting itself. If it is isn’t, you might have a problem. I’d work on that.
From here on out I can’t help you much, as the only novel I ever finished was essentially written like a bad fan fiction of original characters.