Beautiful Books: Let’s Talk Plot

Plots are crucial. Plots are the story. And because of that, it’s essential for you as a writer to get your plot just right.

It’s easier when you have questions to answer that force you to analyze details of your plot that you may not have yet considered.

So here’s my contribution to Beautiful Books: Let’s Talk Plot for my upcoming November book!

What came first: characters or plot idea? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Plot idea came first and characters quickly followed. The plot shaped the characters – even though that may not be true to real life. As I was brainstorming plot ideas, an intriguing question came to mind around which I developed the plot. From that, the characters stepped (more or less) naturally to life.

Perhaps I’m a plotser. Normally in life I’m a plotter. I want to know the details, outline, and strategy before diving into a project. However, writing is my outlet for whatever creative expression I have; to that end, the pantser method is somewhat appealing and works well. I will see what approach works best this November, though I am doing as much basic planning as I can.

Do you have a title and/or a “back-cover-blurb”?

Current working title: Promise’s Prayer

Driven by determination, Kaelen is tired of the quietness of home and is relentless in his pursuit to fulfill a promise that he hopes will bring the land of Taerna back to the blessings of Adon Olam and the prosperity of the days of his ancestors. But his path to prosperity seems to be a lonely one. When a dark secret comes to light and things don’t go as planned, can he keep his promise and save the people of Taerna from the corruption and lawlessness that is dragging them to extinction?

Adon Olam has entrusted Carita with a mission of incredible importance to Taerna’s people and their future. Forced to remain in her quiet, humdrum home, can Carita overcome her inhibitions and the many challenges to carry out the work of Adon Olam?

When disaster forces Kaelen and Carita to work together despite their numerous differences, can they each come to grips with the true plan and will of Adon Olam?

What wordcount are you aiming for when your novel is finished?

50,000 plus whatever else it takes to wrap things up properly.

Sum up your novel in 3 sentences.

Adventure versus quietness marks the struggle to fulfill a promise by sheer determination. It’s definitely his job to save the world. Or is it?

Sum up your characters in one word each.

Kaelan: impetuous

Carita: constant

Which character are you most excited to write? Tell us about them!

I’m excited to write Carita because I don’t know her as well as Kaelan yet. She’s loyal, steady, and relatively unmoved by emotion, passion, and unexpected circumstances. She has a big heart, but she struggles with crippling fears and thoughts of her own unworthiness and position of little influence.

What about your villain? Who is he, what is his goal?

The antagonist is more the culture/society as well as inner conflicts within the characters – in a word, there are a variety of non-human antagonists in the story. However, those who currently govern Taerna can be considered as the villains. They are a husband and wife with two teenage children who carry on the legacy of their grandparents’ structure of governing the country. They are driven by the need to hold up what their grandparents began in the country and are oblivious to the current state of the land. Their goal is to maintain power and their definition of prosperity to pass on to their children as they pass on the governance.

What is your protagonist’s goal? And what stands in the way?

Kaelan’s goal is to fulfill a promise made to his mother, atone for evil he feels he is responsible for undoing, and accomplish the work of Adon Olam. What stands in the way is his lack of ideas and knowledge, culture and society, the government, personal struggles, and hostility.

Carita’s goal is to accomplish Adon Olam‘s mission for her and to help the people of her town. She is hindered by her own position, her fears, and lack of sympathy to her methods.

What inciting incident begins your protagonist’s journey?

The protagonist’s journey begins when he makes a crucial promise to his dying mother.

What are three big scenes in your novel that change the game completely?

A dark secret

A tragic death

A stunning realization

What is the most dynamic relationship your character has? Who else do they come in contact with or become close to during the story?

Kaelan’s most dynamic relationship is with his mother. Later on he meets other friends who become very important to him personally and to his work.

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Kaelan changes completely. His whole view of life is transformed, as well as his view of his purpose in life and what is going on in the country.

Do you have an ending in mind, or do you plan to see what happens?

I have a general concept of how it will end, but I plan to see what happens as far as the details of how the ending works out is concerned.

What are your hopes and dreams for your book? What impressions are you hoping this novel will leave on your readers and yourself? (This is your mission statement, one you can look back on when the road gets tough.)

My hope and dream is that those who read the book will be able to relate to the characters and events in the book and that they will think about their own views and perspectives on life, culture, society problems, and their personal life purpose. I hope that readers will evaluate their own methods of approaching their goals, dreams, and what is important to them and ensure that they are making the right choices.

I am also challenging the stereotypical “save the world” element of many novels.

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