Today's guest is no stranger to our blog so please welcome the lovely and talented Mrs. DiAnn Mills back as she shares some words with us on Brainstorming Your Novel. Take it away, DiAnn!
Brainstorming Your Novel
Novelists often reach a plateau in which the perfect idea won’t coming materialize. The plot germ is there, but the theme, setting, characters, and storyline seem to spin out of control. Solution? Our writing needs a brainstorming session
Believe in our gift to write. We understand the craft, and we’re continually educating ourselves to add more tools and techniques.
Realistic writing is what sells. No matter the genre, the storyline must be credible with realistic characters who react and respond according to the traits we’ve assigned them.
Analyze the basic idea. How can we grow our characters by making their goals difficult, perhaps impossible to reach?
Inspire readers through the story to attempt and achieve great things. Fiction is truth. Jesus spoke in parables, and through His stories people gleaned meaning and purpose to their lives. Don’t preach the message. Let the reader see the characters by the way they tackle life’s challenges.
Name the book and characters. Why is this important? Because the title of a book gives the writer passion for the project. Who wants to wake up each morning to the thrill of working on novel X? In the same way, our characters deserve names that mean something significant in the novel.
Show don’t tell. Propel the story into action by incorporating body language, explosive emotion, purposeful dialogue, and unique settings.
Technique is essential to every story. To make sure the plotting is tight, pose the following four questions before writing each scene.
1. What is the point of view character’s problem or goal?
2. What does the point of view character learn that he/she didn’t know before? New Information.
3. What backstory is revealed? (Hold back in the first approximately fifty pages. Also hold back on faults/weaknesses for the first approximately fifty pages.)
4. How are the stakes raised for the point of view character?
Organize the notes and thoughts into a file: plotting, research, characterization, and the original source of information. If the writer is an outliner, now is the time to create a story outline. If the writer is a panster, the next step is personality driven.
Research is vital to every successful novel. If a novel takes place in a backyard, then research the weeds there. Whenever possible, visit the setting during the season of your story. Interview those who have the same careers or experiences as the story characters. Use the services of a library, chamber of commerce, Internet exploration, and any other means of research to root the reader into the story.
Motivation is the key to every successful novel. We were motivated to begin a writing career. I was motivated to write this blog post. You were motivated to read this post. Our characters are motivated by their wants and needs. Discover the character’s wants and needs to see what he/she will do to achieve them.
This list is only the beginning to brainstorm a story. Are you ready to position your fingers on the keyboard and speed off on another adventure?
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a
storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Retreats: Marketing, Speakers, Nonfiction and Novelist with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion for helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.
Connect with DiAnn here: www.diannmills.com