Now that I have decided what my manuscript is and how to focus my energy, the next step is outlining my novel. I know that I shouldn’t know everything that happens in my book, but it’s important to understand where my story is going. I had no clue how to plan my book. Should I go by months? weeks? holidays? There is definitely no right answer to how long a novel should last. My characters are the only ones who can decide it for me. That and Doctor Who. When I chose a six month time-frame for the novel, it never occurred to me that it would span that length of time. It was Doctor Who that helped me to pick the resolution to my story. Why not end the story on Christmas and in England?!
The only difference is that my Christmas ending won’t be involving aliens or terrifying space ships. Yet, Christmas seems like the perfect time to resolve a lot of bad juju over the course of the novel. The easiest part about deciding the timing of my story was playing off my character. The most important time for a 13-year-old girl is the summer, and I wanted to showcase how important that is to your childhood. Not only that, but starting school in a new country is a pivotal point for my character to experience. I was compelled to purchase a white erase board, so that I can write all of major notes. The clean, glossy surface was just what I needed to put my novel into perspective, to know where it is heading.
I’m not trying to impose my new ideas or that it will ultimately effective at writing my novel. However, it does help organize your thoughts as well as visualize them. Whether it be brainstorming a new idea or plotting a half finished one, the goal is the same. Get your ideas in the most organized way you can be so that the story comes out the best. I’ll share with you, my story board in case you don’t know where to start. On the right, I put a time line that had dates or months with small summaries on the left. Then, I placed themes for the overall story, and a list of characters that have been mentioned so far. Pictures I found from my research and a perfectly chosen actress from a casting website helps me visualize what I see me in my head. It may do that for you.
Please comment if you already have a story board, pictures too! And if this inspires you to make one share what comes from my suggestion 🙂