by Elva Cobb Martin
Are you planning your first novel or trying to get started with your next one? I give God the glory for two novels recently released by Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas, Summer of Deception and In a Pirate's Debt. You can check them out on Amazon at this link: http://amzn.to/2pOgVHI.
This summer I am researching and planning my next novel which will become a series, I hope. Here are the steps that have helped me in the past and, I believe, will assist me again.
1) Read, Read in Your Genre --and Time Period if Historical.
I find it very important to immerse myself in the genre I'm hoping to write. In your genre, find the best, most successful authors you can and read and study what makes their novel interesting to read. I often take notes and write in the margins!
If writing an historical, find books in your time period. Since I'm planning an historical series set in the 1700's like my pirate novel above, I am reading novels of established authors set in this century. It's amazing how many great ideas come to me as I soak up stories set in my chosen time period and place. Reading a contemporary novel,or one set in the Regency Period, or during World War II won't help keep me on target, so I save those novels for another time. I also look for movies set in my time period and save them in my TV groups. I take notes on setting, dialog, dress, conflict, historical tidbits, etc.
4) Jot Down Your Initial Storyline
My basic story idea is of a heroine, an indentured servant, who has a bad past she's carrying like baggage, even after she becomes a Christian. (See the "lie" she believes and the spiritual plot possibility of her overcoming?) After a terrible incident in Spain she fled for her life to the New World as an indentured servant. She falls in love with her master after he becomes widowed, but she feels like soiled goods he will never be interested in. She desires to find respect, security and love and will go to some lengths to find them. (See the motivation and goals unfolding?) And, of course, I will give the widowed hero problems, conflicts, and goals to complicate the romance possibility we will pursue from Charles Town to the Spanish Main. Of course, some of these details will likely change as I write the story! (More on characterization, lies, motivation, and goals in Part 2.)
3) Research and Research Some More
Having the Internet has made research so much easier. Seldom do I have to make a trip to the library for research. This novel will have a heroine who is an indentured servant. Yesterday I googled "Indentured Servants in America" and came up with great information. I printed some articles and saved some to my computer. I already know this story will be set mainly on the Spanish Main in Cartagena so I googled that and came up with some great articles and maps.
How do you plan a new novel? I would love to hear your comments. Next time I will share Part 2 that works for me.