December 23, 2016

How I Plan my Books

By B. J. Robinson

Different techniques may be used since what works for one writer may not work for another. Some authors outline every book, but I don’t because I enjoy letting my character-driven novels take me on a surprise adventure as I hope my readers will.

Technique One:  Historical Romance novels: More time is necessary to develop these as they require research, notes, and much more detail. I write a short blurb, complete my research, and use a whiteboard. You can either outline or use a whiteboard and sticky notes to complete ideas for each chapter. Since I have always literally hated outlining, I use a whiteboard and write a longer blurb to help me get started. I also make notes and use the board for them. You can plan out each chapter this way.

Technique Two:  Fiction Novels not Historical:  Begin by planning characters’ names and descriptions, the setting, conflict, inciting incident, climax, and resolution. Think beginning, middle, and end. Capture reader interest with an inciting incident. This is an incident that makes your hero, heroine, or both take action. It kicks off the story. Write a blurb. I use this method to get started no matter the type of novel, even with the historical ones, but I complete research and make notes with those. I go from chapter to chapter and write by the seat of my pants with the others. This makes writing more fun for me as I let my characters guide me chapter by chapter. At times, things change. Endings might change, or other characters may become involved within the novel, secondary characters. I don’t plan those. They show up as needed. This method works well for me. If you need to plan more and have chapter-by-chapter outlines, you can either use one sentence per chapter for the topic of that chapter or use one paragraph for a more detailed outline.

I enjoy writing by the seat of my pants and have fun with each chapter I write. You may need to try several methods to see which one works best for you. Below is an example of planning for my Christmas novel.

In my book, When the Snow Comes, the last thing Amber desires is to return to the town she left, but she has no choice. Away at college, a broken engagement, broken heart, and broken spirit, has left her hurting, scared, and scarred. Yet, her dream home beckons her back to small-town life that won’t let her forget the man who broke her heart.

Her favorite aunt left her the old Victorian on Wears Valley Road in Tennessee. It’s the home she’s always coveted since childhood and so many wonderful, cherished memories are entrenched in her heart and mind.

Adam can’t deny the attraction, or pull between them, but the last thing he needs is to get involved with Amber again. He thought he knew what she wanted from life, but she left him and the home they both loved for a career dream and college. He’s vowed he’ll never leave Wears Valley. It’s his home and in his blood. No way will he follow the beautiful ash blonde who broke his heart. If Tennessee and its small-town, traditional values aren’t good enough for her, she’s the wrong woman for him.

Fall is ending and Christmas is coming. He was hired by the estate administrators to put a fresh coat of paint on the old home to spruce it up for the holidays and Amber’s return. Since his broken engagement, Christmas is viewed as just another day to him.

Can their hearts and views be transformed by the spirit of the season? Main Street will be adorned with festive lights, Christmas songs, and holiday cheer. Their wedding was to be on Christmas Day. When the snow comes, will the season melt their hearts?
B. J. Robinson writes inspirational fiction from Florida, where she lives with her husband, a shelter cat named Frankie, a golden cocker spaniel named Sunflower, and a golden retriever named Honi. Her children are grown and have made her a grandmother twelve times. She promises to take her readers on a continuous journey to another world. B. J. has been a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). She believes belonging to a good critique group and reading books by other writers is the best way to hone your skill and craft.  Follow me on Twitter: Facebook Author Pages:
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