Here I am with the third part of my writing series and today I'll give you a few useful tips for plotting your novel without missing ties.

(I'm sorry for all the spelling mistakes you'll find here, I'm too tired to fix them today)

1. Sum up your novel

Once you have an idea you'd like to give a chance start by drafting a small paragraph about it. Include the beginning, the problem and the end. This tool will help you to keep an overview of the whole scene, it'll show you where to go and in the mean times you may come up with a few ideas of how.

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In order to be more graphic I'll be using one of my stories as an example throughout: Book # 1. Remember that summing up your novel is not the same as writing a synopsis but sure It'll help. In the case of Book # 1, I decided beforehand that this was going to be a trilogy so I'll just give you the summary of the first book.

Book # 1 summary

After her master passes away, Odette goes on a trip to Belt. The train she's traveling in is attacked by two members of the Ruby Order, she finds herself under their care because of a promise. The three of them succeed on reuniting almost the whole team besides the fact that they have become the most wanted criminal across the Seven Lands. They manage to attack the capital aongside new allies but the actual evil "king" is just a teenage girl with severe mental issues.
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Book # 1 synopsis

After the most powerful knights of Timore kingdom killed the king and tried to take the power, they became the most wanted criminals across the Seven lands. One of them was caught and then condemned to death but the search for the others never finished. During this past ten years they've been hiding in the crowd, living inside secret caves, isolating themselves from the world, waiting. Now, the leader wants to reunite the team and take back what was theirs from the very beginning.
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Notice the difference?

You can find more about this project in the following article:

2. Structure

There are several story structures you can use in your novel.

a. The three-act stories are very popular and common in all literature genres. The whole book must be a three-act story with minor conflicts in-between chapters.
- Introduction: in this arc you should introduce the setting of the story and the characters.
- Conflict: now that the conflict has occurred, how will the protagonist fix it? Can they fix it now or they have to gain strength/power? Any plot twist idea?
- Resolution: after the whole drama, what did the protagonist do something life changing to fix the problem? How does it affect then?

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b. "Hero's journey" stories focus solely on the main character's development. The only POV present is our protagonist's, the lectors follow their adventures. Be careful, this does not mean that secondary characters won't have a grow. "The chosen one" trope is a good example of this.

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c. "The fichtean curve" stories consists on building actions and tension since the first page. If the story is only supposed to be one book of 50 chapters, then expect 40 chapters of conflicts and osbtacles for our protagonist, other 9 about how they're "fixing the problem", and saving the last one for tying loose ends. Nowadays, this plot structure is very popular among books that are part of a saga.

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3. References

"References" (to me) are the same as sources of inspiration. This could be including a wink about a specific book, movie, song, etc. And the best part is that references are not limited to winks. I'll give you an example:

If you've watched the anime Nanatsu no Taizai (or The Seven Deadly Sins) you must have noticed a few similarities with Book #1: both stories are fantasies, both stories portray seven characters from different backgrounds (witches, humans, demons, etc) that end up being fugitives. That's it. Every other detail in Book #1 is completely different from the anime. For instance, my protagonist is an orphan girl who once drank angel blood and now presents some extraordinary abilities but nothing too magical nor powerful; on the other hand, NnT's protagonist is the reincarnation of some cursed goddess that centuries ago fell in love with a demon.
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References aren't that necessary but I decided to include it into this list because I'm the kind of writer who gets bored easily and often abandons a story. Including references about key things/things I like always gives me inspiration and motivation to keep going.

4. Characters

Your protagonists and main characters iare key points for your outlining. Knowing their personalities, pet peeves, likes and dislikes will determine the course of the story. So, in order to be coherent with their behaviour you must create a character sheet. By doing this you'll keep everything neat and clear, and if some time in the future you forget anything (e.g. you're writing a scene where the characters have to hide in the woods by night, are any of them afraid of the dark?).

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Furthermore, you can include a detailed "character arc" section in the sheet. This is something I didn't mention in my last article because I wanted to explay myself here. Having a character arc in the sheet is the same as keeping track of every important event your character has been through and how did it affect them.

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Maybe in chapter one they meet a person they believe is cool and funny, but in a few chapters they see this same person abusing an animal.

"When they meet A they start to get along well, they consider A their friend and even invite them to their brithday party. But as the time went on they discovered A abusing someone's pet they confrented them and had an argument about it. Since that day they haven't spoken to each other."

By writing this in "the character arc" you won't miss this detail.

5. Make a scene list

If you don't know the exact order or types of the scenes in the story you can always start with a brainstorming. Try to avoid including romantic things if the story doesn't revolve around it. If it does, deciding how does each display of affection will happen is vital. Never forget that these are just scenes that don't have to be connected. Forget questions like: "How am I going to reach this point the story?", "What is supposed to be the detonator for this fight?", "Where did they come from?".

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Book # 1
- Dei and Irene attack the train where Odette is traveling.
- Cora doesn't want to be part of the group, neither does Eden.
- Dei and Irene discover that Odette is inmune to poisons.
-Latty tries to kill Odette.
-Petro confesses his love to Irene.
-Irene loses her sense of vision again.

Also, try to include the names of the character's that will participate in each scene. If you feel that you can arrange the scenes in chronological order, do it.

6. Decide the climax

Even inside a book with numerous problems/obstacles that the protagonist have to confront there is always a top one. This specific moment is CRUCIAL for your story. Choosing the major problem goes hand-by-hand the first point and the fifth one. Once you've summed up the story and have made up a few important scenes, you'll easily find a moment where to colocate the obstacle.

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Don't forget to include the minor problems too! Small problems are what determine the character's relations/how they behave or treat each other.

7. Plan each chapter

You've come this far, now is time to write!
You can start planning a chaptar by including an important scene that you wrote down in point 5. Now that you feel comfortable with the story's skeleton, give it some joints so it can begin to walk the path.

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Pin-point the storyline by adding no-return points (where your protagonits must choose beteween two things, this choice will decide the destiny of the characters), pinch points (where you show how this decision affected everything), midpoints (how the protagonists endure the consequences, how they try to use them into their favor).

8. Recognize plot holes

Last but not less important, compare the character sheets and the planned chapters and make sure your characters are willing to help. What do I mean? What I'm trying to say is that your character will be able to commit the actions you've imagined they would do. In other words, everything has to make sense!

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Book # 1, chapter XXX:
Laru tries to kill Odette.

"But, in my character sheet is written that Laru is calm, smart and sensible. Moreover, here it says that Laru and Odette get on well with each other since their first interaction. This doesn't make sense.... Mh, maybe I mistook his name and Latty's."

Book # 1, chapter XXX:
.Odette murders someone for the first time: she kills a soldier with her fire bending.

"Excuse me? She can barely hold a sword! She's a human, the only thing she can do is tolerate poisons, there is no way she can fire bend."

Thanks for everything!
Check out my "writing series" for more!