How to Plot a Book

You have had an idea for a novel for years. You know what you want to write about and you are passionate about it. Now you want to do it. But, where do you even begin. Here are some ideas to get you started on your book. Develop a Plot To begin with, you need to know what your story is about. Here are the decisions you need to make about your book so you can really get started with it. Where is your story going? The plot in any story involves a sequence of occurrences that lead to fixing a problem or achieving a goal. The plot is the explanation for how the problem ultimately gets fix or the main character achieves his goal. The plot should impact nearly every character in the book. What happens if the goal isn’t reached? If the problem is not solved by the characters, what is the consequence? What is the story riding on? This lingering fear or concern is what will keep readers hooked onto a book and dying to know if the characters succeed or fail. Keeping the readers on the edge of their seat will make them more involved and concerned about the outcome. What has to happen to reach the goal? You need to figure out what steps the main character needs to perform in order to reach their goal. Think of the different possibilities that the characters could attempt, no matter how silly or how they may fail in the process. Foreshadowing can help. While you never want to give the entire book away to the reader, giving them hints or clues to how things will go will pique their interest. This will make them more emotionally invested in the book and keep them reading. And it’s even more fun to make the hints wrong and give a bit of a plot twist. What do the characters have to lose to win? As in, they can reach the goal, but at what cost? Will they have to kill their dog, lose their job, or abandon their children? How important is achieving the goal to their moral character. What does it say about the characters? Maybe what the characters give up isn’t such a bad thing. Perhaps the main character just needs to lost pride or gain humility. You need to keep your character interested as well. If the character is constantly struggling over every marker throughout the entire book, book the character and the reader are going to get worn out. You need to give your character small wins, even if they have little or nothing to do with the ultimate goal achievementof the book. This can give the reader a break from the goal and let them know a little more about the character. And this will keep the character, even though he is fictional, from getting discouraged in the process. It is never fun to read about a character who is losing all of the time. Think of the specific steps that will lead to the goal of the story. Does the character need to discover the treasure map for everything else to happen? What has to happen to the character before the journey can begin? Who are the antagonists in the book making the main character’s journey more difficult? While the character will have personal challenges and maybe physical challenges while working toward the book’s goal, there usually is a villain, however minor, who is making life even more difficult for the main character. With these thoughts in mind, physically lay out your story. This will give you a plot arc to follow and keep you on task when you have begun writing.

Read More

Book Publishing 101

A lot goes into the production of a book. From start to finish, there is an array of professionals skilled at a publishing task that go into taking a book from manuscript to print. Here is a list of all the people who create books. Acquisitions Editor Bet you didn’t know there are more than one kind of editor. But there is. The acquisitions editor reads the manuscripts that are sent to the publisher. The “slush pile” is what they call the unsolicited manuscripts, meaning they were not presented to the publisher through an agent. While the slush pile is frustrating and time consuming, when an excellent manuscript is found, everything else pales in comparison. The acquisitions editor is also in charge of writing up your book contract and negotiating payment. Developmental Editor A developmental editor is not always necessary. Their job is to take a book that has some major issues and work it into a sellable book. They will work on storyline problems, plot arcs, as well as character development. It is the most involved process of any editors and requires the most patience from both the editor and the author. Not every novelist will need help with the development of their book, but, if it’s your first book, it is definitely ok to consult with one. Most publishing houses will not have a developmental editor on staff. The task is time consuming and can be a money pit if the book is not worth the effort. As a book that needs developmental work needs a big overhaul, the publisher does not know how the final product will come out or if the writer will be willing to make the necessary changes to make the book marketable for the publisher. Writers in need of a developmental editor should be able to find one at an independent company or find a freelance editor. Line Editor This is the place where most books end up at the publishing house out of the slush pile. Provided that they are not lacking important structures, books will go to the line editors first. A line editor will still work on the structure of the book, but it is not substantial issues. Mostly a line editor works on the language of the piece, where the chapters fall, and minor character and plot details. This will ensure that the book is cohesive and will remove anything that could potentially alienate a reader. Copy Editor This is the type of editor that people think of first when they think of editors. This is the end of the editing road for a book. The copy editors ensure the work is clean and tidy and ready for printing. They will make sure the punctuation and grammar is correct, look for any spelling issues, and put out the book. The copy editor actually looks over the proof of the book as well to make sure there were not any errors that were missed or introduced during the design process. Design Once the copy editor has approved the manuscript, it will be sent over to the designer to be laid out for printing or e-publishing. The designer selects the type, the type size, book size, and even the spacing between each line and each letter. The designer makes sure that the book is easy to read and the layout is attractive to the eyes. The design team also takes care of the creation of the book cover and the layout of the wording on it. They will usually consult with the marketing department to make sure that the design of the book is keeping with the genre the book is being marketed as. Marketing The marketing team is who is going to sell the book. They will send out press releases, write the marketing copy for the back of the book as well as all promotional materials. They go to book events and announce that the book is coming. They also arrange the author signings and appearances to let people know about the book and how exciting it is.

Read More