Plotting Your Novel by Writing from the Middle

As a writer, I am always learning. I think that’s what I love most about writing — the learning never stops. I am either learning something new about myself and writing as I write, or I stumble across new information as I am looking to learn more about writing. This time it was the latter. Recently on Twitter, I ran across a book recommendation for plotting that I loved so much I had to share it here.

Write Your Novel From The Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between by James Scott Bell is must read for anyone serious about writing. This book goes into detail about why writers should start from the middle of a story instead of the beginning or end (who would of thought!). And how finding a character’s “mirror moment” is essential to true character development.

I definitely believe character development is a key element in a story. The more a reader can relate with a character and feel for a character’s journey, the better the book becomes. And this method certainly will help with that!

This book also helped me realize that I’m a Tweener (I always thought myself a straight up Pantser). I do love writing by the seat of my pants. That’s how I get some of my best ideas, but I also know where I’m writing too as well. I have a loose idea of events I need to reach and about where I need those events to happen. Also, I find already knowing my ending is a necessity to writing, even if I don’t know specifics. Just having a good idea of where I need to stop gives me a clear goal to reach for. But after reading Bell’s book I have an even better way to approach my writing. Start in the middle and Pants my way to the beginning and end. I’ll still have those events and goal posts to reach, but I think it will be far easier to get there knowing exactly what the character’s journey should entail.

And you know this book couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’ve become somewhat stalled on writing the first draft of my second novel. I think this technique will get things churning quite nicely. Thanks Bell. 🙂

 

The Art, Craft and Business of Writing Fiction

Here are some notes I took from a workshop I did by Linnea Sinclair when I went to Context a few weeks ago. I found them helpful and thought I would share. 


Are you a writer or author?
Writer= isn’t serious about being published
Author=  has published works
Writing is an art and craft, but it is also a BUSINESS!
 

All About the Art and Craft


  • You have to couple good writing with original thought.
  • Read as much as you can of what is available in the genre that you write and other genres as well.
  • Too many writers stop at the art, at the muse. Move past this and get into the craft of writing.
  • Craft is the only way to tame the muse.
  • Art lives in the emotions, but only craft can give your words life.
  • Craft allows you to refine your words.
  • Decent craft has good plot, logic, characterization and conflict.
  • It is the author’s job to manipulate the emotions of the reader.

All About the Business

  • Network! Meet and greet as many as people you can that will help you move forward as an author this includes other writers, editors, agents and publishers.
  • Do your homework! A subscription to Publisher’s Lunch is essential in this endeavor. It is a bible of information for finding agents and publishers. If you know what’s being published you can find how published it and what agents are looking for.
  • Build up your resume
  • Beware of the trend in New York. If you want to be picked up by big name publishers use New York as your source of information for what’s wanted on the market.
  • Have an elevator pitch ready to sell yourself. An elevator pitch is being able to pitch your story in the time it would take to ride an elevator.
  • Know your read-a-like.What current author do you write like? You should know this to give as a pitch to potential agents and publishers.
  • Analyze your own writing to discover where it fits and makes sure it’s in your query letter.
  • Be prepared to market your own work. In fact when submitting a novel manuscript, you should have a marketing plan already written up.

Sites to Check Out!

Must have books!

I also highly recommend her online classes as well. You can check them out at linneasinclair.com/news.html