Plan With Me – Step 9

This week  is step 9 out of 12.  I know you’re tired of waiting. I know you want to just get on with it.  Be patient grasshopper.

Here’s a quick review to catch you up before we move on. People learn by repetition. Trust me, this is going to be beneficial in the end.

This twelve step process is thorough. If you follow the guidelines, then you will be able to map  your success. For those that stick through to the very end, I’m going to give you a BONUS 3 Step Short Cut. You’re almost there.

Step 9- Create Your Templates

I debated  about putting this right after step 7  and before research. In my process,  research usually occurs before  I set up my chapters because I  want to make certain that I can do what I am planning to do. This involves research.  If a pneumatic nail gun is not strong enough to pierce  a man’s  chest and puncture his heart, I need to know that before I plan to  use  that method of murder.  If a heroin addict doesn’t behave a certain way, I need to know that to lend realism to my character. Therefore,  research was slipped in before this step, but this ties in directly to step 7 of setting up your structure.

A simple template will help you move forward so that you are not reinventing the wheel each and every chapter.  Think about that for a second.  If your book is 30 chapters long, a template is going to save you numerous hours.

Tailor the template for your purposes.  You are going to create a one of a kind custom made template for YOU. Not for your friend, not for  the people in your writing group, but a custom fit for YOU.

In each chapter, we need to have  the basic set up of the book:

  • beginning
  • middle
  •  end

Each chapter should be able to stand alone on the scene  or scenes that are happening at that  time.  Your basic model as listed above ( beginning, middle, end) may be  expanded to the Freytag method: exposition, inciting incident, complication, climax, reversal, falling action,  resolution, and the denouement.

Not every chapter may include every aspect, but if you have a spot for it in your template,    it’s easy to plug in the parts that you need.

Here’s a breakdown of  parts:

  1. Title – I like to title my chapters, but you don’t have to. Numeric chapters work fine.
  2. Epigraph – again, not necessary but can lend to the story if the epigraphs are pertinent. In Valkyrie’s Curse I use epigraphs from the poetic edda,  sort of a Bible for Viking lore.
  3. Anecdote –   if you are writing humor this is important.  If you are writing about a serious issue an anectdote may soften the  hard topic.
  4. body of chapter –  this is where we break out the elements of story as listed above
  5. illustrations –  if you are writing a children’s book you may need illustrations. If you are writing a nonfiction you may need to include an illustration of your topic.
  6. conclusion – most often used for a nonfiction, but always good to remember  so that you have wrapped up a scene and not left a gaping plot hole.

By knowing what needs to go into each chapter, your mind can focus on the story instead of structure. Creativity gets bogged down when details of structure are weighing on your mind.

Even though I have a rough outline for my story, when the characters go off on a tangent that wasn’t included in the original outline,  you need to think fast to either change your outline or adjust the story to get them back on track.  These points give you  some general guidelines of framework of which to work within.

Honestly, this is like  the rough 2 X 4 construction of a new house.  There are framed walls,   doorwars, windows, but at this  stage in the construction it’s difficult for anyone outside the construction industry to discern  what it will look like in the end. The electrical work isn’t in, the ductwork isn’t installed,   it looks like a maze of lumber.

But by the time the drywall is up and the homeowner can put their finishing touches by selecting  paint, tile, flooring, fixtures, the house becomes a home. That’s how it is with this. Your template becomes a story bringing the characters to life on the pages.

You should be getting excited now.  You should be  getting out your notebook or opening your Scrivener file  inspired with possibilities.  Why are you still here?  Click like and start  planning!


‘Til next time





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