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Plot construction...

The framework goes up before the house!

If you have most or all of the whole plot in mind already, it's time to get down to brass tacks. Let's look at how to write your construction blueprint. With that done, you're ready to build the novel.

When a plot is giving trouble, fall back on the basics: sit at the feet of master fictioneers and shamelessly pick their brains. Need help to plot the seemingly unplottable?! Here's an overview of the subject. With this crow's-eye-view, you'll know where to head next.

Do you have part of the plot, say, the middle? The beginning is still vague, and you know you need a fully-rounded, satisfying ending. (I'm going to look at why the ending is by far the most important part of a work of fiction.) Let's take a look at the structure of a good novel — the system behind how to write something so compelling, your reader can't stop turning pages, and at the end is hungry four your next book: it's all about plot development. Stay with me ... I'm going there next.

Do you have the beginning and the middle, but the ending is proving elusive? Time to do a little creative brainstorming, using tried and proven models that have worked for writers for years. We'll take the existing models, tear them apart right back to their constituent bricks, and build something new: How to write the Big Finish.

Or, do you have a fantastic book idea that needs to 'gel' into a plot? In another post I'll talk about how to write a story outline, or timeline. Tap into this way of working, and an afternoon invested now can save you a week of reworking later.

With the plot tied down fast, the next step is to consider creating characters, of developing the characters that have already taken shape in your imagination. You'll want to write characters so real, they seem to have lives of their own, and they'll haunt your readers. There are no graven-in-gold rules about how to write great characters, but a number of techniques are at your fingertips, and all are extremely effective. Here's Character Creation 101 ... How to write the characters readers love — and love to hate!

    Create unforgettable characters
    Create a character: the hero
    Create a character: the villain
    What's in a character's name?

And with the major characters mapped out, the construction blueprint can be called done. The time has come to explore your creativity, flex your writer's muscles, see what you can do. Set your own 'ground rules' and stick to them.

For example, try to write every day, even if it's only 200 words (which would be around half a page of a paperback with decently-set type, or almost a full page of a paperback where the type is enormous and the lines are almost double spaced ... which is how publishers take a very short book and make it look much larger. All that wasted paper between the lines is known as 'white space' ... what a crass waste of trees).

Now, let's take a look at some of the most fundamental nuts and bolts of how to write. It starts with getting ideas and words onto paper, or into the computer, so that they can be pushed, pulled, shoved, culled, and otherwise pounded into shape!

Only you know how much you know, and how much you need to learn. I'm going to answer dozen of the most-asked questions, which clear answers, which will help you skim over sticky patches. (Grab a fresh coffee and take a few minutes to read through them; you might be surprised. The industry keeps changing.)

Turn page to...
Q&A: 'How to write ... what?!' 12 Most-asked Questions!

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