Thursday, April 23, 2015

Plotstorming a Novel

by Elva Cobb Martin @ElvaCobbMartin

Cheryl Wyatt shocked me in a blog some time ago when she said she tended to write a rough draft of a novel in a week. And I want to give her credit for some of her ideas I am going to share. She writes action-romance.

How does she do it? She does a lot of prep work she calls plotstorming before she starts writing the rough draft. This includes doing Character Charts first on the main characters. (For her it also includes cooking and freezing a week's worth of meals for her family during her Weeklong Rough Draft Writing Spree).

Then comes her Plotstorm List

The Cute Meet: How will the heroine/hero meet?
The Draw and the Push: What plot element will keep drawing the two together and what conflict will be prying them apart?

Hero and Heroine's Story Goals
Hero and Heroine's Motivation
Hero and Heroine's Conflict: External, Internal, Spiritual, Relational
Story Setting
Inciting Incident: The chaos, disaster, dilemma, or change that opens        the story and becomes Scene 1/opening hook.
Relationship Reticence - hero
Relationship Reticence - heroine

1st Major Disaster
2nd Major Disaster
3rd Major Disaster aka Black Moment

Important Ancillary character:
 important character, other than hero or heroine, who is most central/important to the plot.

Basic Premise: A one-sentence summary or paragraph blurb of the basic story idea.

Scene Index Skeleton: (Not a chapter chart). One-liner plot points describing what goes into each major scene. (Normally, she has three scenes per chapter and around 20 chapters, so that's 60 scenes).

The Resolution:

In a romance she always know the H/H will get together in the end. 

Once Cheryl has all the above decided, she's ready to write her first draft in a week. 

Of course that’s also after she cleans her house from top to bottom and plans some activities with family members so they won’t feel she is neglecting them during her writing spree week.

What about you? Can you use some of these ideas to jumpstart your next novel. I used some of this to write my second novel and it does work.
I found it best for me to go away for a week to really be able to make  progress and keep my mind uncluttered from my every day responsibilities and interruptions. Do you have a place you can hide away for a week to write? I thank God for an understanding husband who will sometimes be fine with this. Of course, we are both retired and have no little ones in the nest any more or this wouldn’t be possible. What works for you?

Please leave a comment and get ready to plot storm your next novel.

Elva Cobb Martin

Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have published her articles. She has published a  Bible study, Power Over Satan, available on, and has completed two inspirational romances for which she is seeking representation. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives with her husband Dwayne and a mini-dachshund writing helper, Lucy, in Anderson, South Carolina. She also leads an internet prayer task force praying for a Great Awakening. Connect with her on her web site, her blog on Twitter, and on Facebook.

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