Resources and Tools

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6 NaNoWriMo and Novel Project Development Techniques & Tools

Whether you are preparing for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) or simply working on your novel, here are 6 techniques — plus resources and tools — to help you reach your goal.

1.  Recommended Books

Since you are working on a book, I figure you also like to read them, so here are some titles I’ve found useful.

2.  My Guide to “Fast Writing”

Elsewhere I’ve created a compilation of the tips and techniques by other successful writers on novel writing preparation based largely on Rachel Aaron’s techniques for achieving 10,000 words per DAY(!). There’s also a handy PDF download to take with you.

3.  Plot Development Worksheets

Novel Storyboard Worksheet : A PDF storyboard for noting events and characters by chapter. 

Traditional Plot Development Storyboard : A PDF  storyboard that breaks down traditional fiction arc into the standard 20-chapters used by mass market paperbacks for decades.

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NaNoWriMo Prep: The Ultimate Plot Development Guide

In preparation for NaNoWriMo,

I’ve created a comprehensive guide to novel plot development, character creation and writing preparation — and then I thought I’d share it with everyone else getting ready for NaNoWriMo. After reading Rachel Aaron’s posts on how she achieves 10,000 words per day when writing her novels as well as how she prepares to start a new novel writing project, I started collecting her recommendations and meshing them with other authors such as Holly Lisle, Bob Mayer, and Jim Butcher to create a new Novel Writing Plot Development and Project Worksheet below. I also have some recommended titles for those wanting even more.

Fast Writing Novel Plot Development, Character Creation, and Project Preparation

Sepia close-up of guy with black glasses

The PDF version of the Novel Writing Project Worksheets and Guide is below. Check back for the epub and mobi formats coming soon.

You can download the more stylish version below, but here’s a quick summary of the process. I’ll be breaking it down in more detail with individual posts from time to time, but with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) coming up, I thought I’d better get the short version up for us all. I’ll keep revising and updating as I find more relevant techniques, tips and suggestions. Continue reading

Fiction Writing Plot Development Storyboards

While taking a workshop with author Janice MacDonald on developing a traditional fiction story plot (the kind with a beginning, middle and end), I decided to modify one of the templates that came with my Pages program into a set of worksheets. These worksheets can help you outline your fiction plot and determine the story structure.

Check out More Tips & Tools from Creative Writing classes!

Check out More Tips & Tools from Creative Writing classes!

The first two are blank worksheets. You can copy them, fill them in, cut them up, move things around. Use them as you wish. There’s a place at the top for the name of novel or chapter and for defining the genre and the characters involve or whatever works for you.

You may want to read some of the other posts on various ways to approach plot and motivation. You can then work with the blank storyboards in developing the internal and external events.

DOWNLOAD the Novel Storyboard Worksheet PDF

DOWNLOAD the Chapter Storyboard Worksheet PDF

The third worksheet is my own creation from the various things I’ve learned about the traditional story structure. I want to give a big thanks to Janice MacDonald who clarified a great deal of the standard novel structure with her own plot grid. It’s the basis for my small variations.

DOWNLOAD the Traditional Fiction Writing Plot Development Storyboard PDF

While the storyboard is designed for the typical 20-chapter genre novel, simply expand the number of chapters between the Plot Points and the Crisis to meet your needs. The last page of the storyboard contains with a basic summary of a traditional novel plot structure as well as 10 Question For Developing Your Plot which help you determine the internal motivation and well as the strongest conflicts confronting your primary character or protagonists. Continue reading

NaNoWriMo Prep: Novel Writing Plot Development and Project Worksheet

Howdy! We’ve Updated this Page Recently.

All of this information and worksheets were updated in 2013 and can now be found here and herePlease head to the latest posts for the New and Improved Novel Writing Plot Development Guide and Worksheets. Thank you!

 

NaNoWriMo Prep: Plot Development and Profile Worksheets, Visualizing Collage, and More

guy-w-black-glasses-960While everyone else is carving pumpkins and hunting for a black turtle neck and New Balance sneakers, in between desperately trying to finish my house repairs before freezing temperatures arrive, I’m preparing for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).In the Seattle area, the NaNoWriMo fans filled not one, but two plot development workshops in a few short hours of registration. So I thought I’d put up some NaNoWriMo Preparation Tips and ideas for those of us who didn’t get to attend.

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Blake Snyder Save the Cat! Story Plot Development Storyboards

Blake Snyder's Cat series makes it easy to visualize your plot

Blake Snyder’s Cat series makes it easy to visualize your plot

A friend of mine who writes urban fantasy novels turned me on to Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat!®  The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need and his technique of developing story plots. I was skeptical at first since I’d gone through a screenwriting phase a few years back and thought I’d pretty much read and discovered everything there was to developing plot as if writing a screenplay, but I picked up some new techniques and ideas from Mr. Snyder. I’ve added a quick summary worksheet below that you can download to get a feel for the technique.

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50 Great Websites for Writers – Both Fiction and Non-Fiction

Here's a hidden gem of a site for fiction, nonfiction and fan writers

Here’s a hidden gem of a site for fiction, nonfiction and fan writers

Strangely enough I was first introduced to this site from an internet marketing blog. I’m not certain why I haven’t found it before from either a fiction, nonfiction or fan writing website or one of the education and training websites I frequent. But this site has a huge list of resources, some of which I hadn’t found before, for writers of all kinds. It’s worth a look.

http://educhoices.org/articles/50_of_the_Best_Websites_for_Writers.html

Lisa Preston's Agent Researching Resources

Mucha-Monaco-Monte-CarloAuthor Lisa Preston (http://www.lisapreston.com), spoke to The Writing Popular Fiction class of author Janice MacDonald in September, 2007. Lisa Preston does workshops. Check out her site for more information. This are some of her excellent recommendations for researching appropriate agents to query about your novel.

There are 4 requirements for a writer to get an agent and sell their novel or memoirs:

  1. The novel must be good enough — don’t send it out too early.
  2. The query must be good enough — go pro.
  3. The agent must be good enough — do your homework before you sign.
  4. Your luck must be good enough.

Three of these requirements are under your control.

Resources for Researching Agents

Subscription sites:
(While there’s no free lunch, Cader’s Publisher’’s Lunch column is good and has tasty tidbits)
mediabristro.com
publishersmarketplace.com
publishersweekly.com
Free Resources
Library Sections: 070, 808
[source for books like Writer’s Market, Guide to Literary Agents, Herman’s Literary Marketplace]

Also read the Acknowledgments, Dedications, etc. of novels and memoirs similar to yours to find the names of potential
Google Book Search: books.google.com (search on agent’s name or word “agent”
for listings in dedications, etc.)

http://www.vistacomp.com/pub_moves/pub_moves.html:
updated on Friday every week with industry promotions & moves; catching someone who has been promoted to acquisition agent or agent from assistant can be a good break; someone moving to start a new line or at a new house will be looking to acquire new titles to make his/her own mark (Read “The Forest for the Trees” by Betsy Lerner)

agentquery.com
When reading postings in forums, consider the source and don’t take the information as gospel:
absolutewrite.com/forums
writer.net/forum/10
everyonewhosanyone.com

Ann Crispin & Victoria Strauss Site: Writer Beware: http://accrispin.blogspot.com
(a pair of SF/Fantasy writers who posts listings about suspicious or fraudulent agents, publishers, contests, etc. A.C. Crispin started out as a Trek fan who sold to the original Star Trek novel line and parlayed that into a career).

Blogging Agents:
Nathan Bransford: http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/
Jennifer Jackson: http://arcaedia.livejournal.com/
Jonathon Lyons: http://lyonsliterary.blogspot.com/
Kristin Nelson: http://pubrants.blogspot.com/
Deidre Knight et al: http://knightagency.blogspot.com/
Jet Reid: http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/
Sachs, Faust et al: http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/
Nephele Tempest: http://nephele.livejournal.com/
Rachel Vater: http://raleva31.livejournal.com/
Dystel & Goderich et al: http://dglm.blogspot.com/

Anonymous:
Miss Snark: http://missnark.blogspot.com/
Rejector: http://rejecter.blogspot.com/
Evil Editor: http://evileditor.blogpsot.com
Predators & Editors at anotherrealm.com