DRAFTING A COHESIVE PLOT
By Linda Wood Rondeau
There are many ways to plot your story, including creative non-fiction. Some prefer to use the Five Act or Three Act approach. Some like to use a skeleton approach, like a blueprint. Some get their story down, like the frame of a house, then tweak and fine-tune their story events. I am a panster, or as some term this trait, an intuitive writer. Rather than create chapter-by-chapter synopses, I allow my story to evolve naturally.
Whatever plotting method is chosen, there are similarities that bear noting, events that help your story plotline remain cohesive.
- Initiating event: Here we get to know your protagonist. Establish relatability. An introduction to your character’s world. For example, here is the initiating event for Hunger Games. When we understand Katniss’ love for her sister, her later choices make sense.
- Inciting event: The protagonist is thrust, either by choice or circumstance, toward a collision with destiny. In Hunger games, this when Katniss decides to volunteer as Tribute.
- Crisis event: This is where your protagonist is “all in.” There is no turning back and the only course is to move forward. The prince is in heavy battle with the dragon. The protagonist makes a decision that cannot be reversed and propels the rest of the story. An example of a crisis event is found in Titanic, when Rose gets off the lifeboat. It is the last one, and the ship will sink. Her decision propels the rest of the story.
- Climax: Luke uses the force. Everything that has gone on before now culminates in this last battle or act. The volcano must erupt.
- Denouement: The release or tying up the story. This is the natural result of all that has gone on before and leads to a satisfactory ending. This does not necessarily mean happy-ever-after. Rather an ending that makes sense given the previous events.
Award winning author, LINDA WOOD RONDEAU writes to demonstrate our worst past, surrendered to God becomes our best future. A veteran social worker, Linda now resides in Hagerstown, Maryland. Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com. Contact the author on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus and Goodreads.
Tired of war, the world’s nations surrendered their weapons and formed a global government called The Accord, a democracy patterned after America’s constitution. However, The Accord proved too weak and greedy men reformed United Earth under the rule of The Constitutional Government, a faux democracy. Manipulations have now created the potential rise of United Earth’s first dictator. Many believe only reform will preserve the benefit of a global government. Factions arise, each with a differing opinion as to what those reforms should be. Jacob Goodayle, leader of the Western America Network, believes his group should declare an independent sovereign state. Edwin Rowlands, President-elect of United Earth has proposed an amendment to The Fourteen Articles of Constitution. His preservation act would make defection from Citizenry to any outworld, past, present or future, an act of treason punishable by death. Jimmy Kinnear, leader of the Revolutionary Army, believes only revolt will save the world. Reformists like Bridget Cavanaugh and Ian McCormick believe the current government can be reformed from within. Ahmed Fared, Second to the President-Elect, strives to save the status quo. In a world where engineered flesh have become little more than slaves and religious expression of any kind is forbidden, Christ Followers struggle to maintain their values while humanity teeters on the verge of a civil war that would plummet humanity into a third dark age.
Name your favorite John Denver song. I dare you. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a hard time. Wander down Country Roads? Leave on a Jet Plane? Thank God for Country Boys? Feel Sunshine on my Shoulder? I had to settle for the song that led me to Colorado: Rocky Mountain High.
October 12th is the twentieth anniversary of his death. I present to you Take Me Home: Three Romantic Novellas Based on John Denver Songs. It includes my story, Her Rocky Mountain Highness, as well as Thank God for my Country Boy and Calypso Reimagined. The collection is being offered as one of my give aways this month.
As for other news:
I’ve completed the first thirty prayers for Pray Through the Bible. What a blessing! Here’s one to give you a taste:
Lord Father, I thank You that the Bible shows me the great saints of faith with all their faults. Abraham was able to go for years without hearing from You, but not Moses. You even gave him a helper. Oh, how I thank You that I don’t have to measure up to someone else. You will prepare me uniquely for my calling. If I need repeated instructions—You are happy to guide me. So let me get busy, preparing for the work You have given to me. With the assistants You have given to me, beginning with the Holy Spirit. Because of You, I will complete the task. Amen.
I’ve picked up again on my Harvey Girls/Charles Lindbergh story. Imagine going on a plane with Lindbergh? I’m flying with him over Oklahoma in my imagination.
Check out the fascinating story of Tapiwa “Gwen” Marange in this month’s issue of
Book Fun Magazine view online at http://www.bookfun.org/
My John Denver tribute, Her Rocky Mountain Highness, is now available (it is temporarily published with the cover for the 3-novella collection, Take Me Home.)
I sent fifty-nine devotions touching on Exodus, Leviticus, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Matthew, Mark, Acts, Romans and 1 Corinthians off to Barbour for inclusion in the 2019 edition of Daily Wisdom.
***NEW RELEASES***NEW RELEASES***NEW RELEASES***
Four coming to you this month:
A Christmas Masquerade:7 historical romances at a Christmas ball, which includes my story:
Christmas Child (last month’s feature)
Captive Brides Collection: 9 Stories of Great Challenges Overcome through Great Love which includes my story, His Golden Treasure, set on Maiden Lane on San Francisco’s Barbery Coast.
To be released this week:
Her Rocky Mountain Highness and the collection associated with it, Take Me Home: A John Denver Collection.
In August, I told you about meeting Gwen Merare. The first of my articles about her is now available online: http://www.myprimetimenews.com/when-paths-cross/
I’ve also been preparing to write Pray Through the Bible in a Year. Starting today, I am beginning an intensive immersion in the Bible, writing prayers from Genesis through all sixty-six books to Revelation. Please pray for me. Our enemy probably doesn’t want me writing it.
What’s New? 9/17/17
New Contract, New Direction
I am pleased to announce that I have contracted with Barbour Publishing to write Pray Through the Bible in a Year. I’m writing 365 prayers to accompany daily readings that will go through the Bible in a year. It will be published in November 2018.
Add this new project to the View Through My Door column now publishing in monthly different venues monthly, the devotions for the 2019 edition of Daily Wisdom, and prayers for A 12 Month Guide to Better Prayer for Women, and it’s clear God has given me a green light on writing more nonfiction. (I certainly never expected to be writing about prayer this much! Annie Tipton at Barbour must something more in me than I saw in myself.)
I’m also working on a proposal for a devotional based on Isaiah, tentatively titled 60 Days of Renewal in Isaiah: Full Lives in Empty Places. Below is the setup of how I expect the first two page s to look. What do you think? Does it engage your attention?
Isaiah 1 cut
Works in Progress
Works in progress? I’m slowing down the novella-writing process. All Roads Lead Home, my Harvey Girls story, should be released in February 2018. It’s set in Waynoka, Oklahoma, in 1929. Charles Lindbergh chose Waynoka as the hub of his short-lived Transcontinental Air Transport, and that’s the background for my story. I’m a quarter of the way through the rough draft.
With only two weeks until the devotions for Daily Wisdom are due, I am scrambling to finish writing fourteen more devotions and editing the second month.
Upcoming Blog, radio, conference appearances
Check out the following blog, radio, and conference appearances:
https://toginet.com/shows/litup/articles/9012 Interview with Angie Breidenbach on Lit Up Radio where I discuss “How to Develop a Writer’s Nose” (for stories that sell) and discussing several of my recent books.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/102982367069039/ I will be teaching a class on Building a Career for a Christian Fiction Writer (including “How to Develop a Writer’s Nose”) at the 2017 At-Home Conference for all those members of ACFW who can’t attend conference this year.
September issue of Book Fun Magazine featuring my article, “The Missing Puzzle Peace,” is available for perma free at http://www.bookfun.org/.
***NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE*** Christmas Child
Instead of the familiar, recognizable Bible characters for their annual Christmas Masquerade, my hero and heroine choose to dress as a servant and a soldier at King Herod’s palace. God protected the baby Jesus, but He uses Preston and Eliza to rescue a fatherless infant from the scheming mill owner.
For my second giveaway this month, I’ll share my other Wise Men story, Christmas Visitors. It’s more of a short story than a novella, but three wise women from the East arrive in Texas with a special Christmas message.
Last month Barbara Thompson won A Small Town Kind of Love and Delores Leisner won Civil War Brides. Two lucky people this month will win either Christmas Visitors.
I have finished the final edits on Christmas Child. It will go to my publisher as soon as I get the final proofreading back – hopefully Monday or Tuesday.
My local group, OCFW, has co-written a collection called Cracked Ice. We’ve received it back from the editor. More details coming as the book approaches publication.
I have finished the first month of devotions for the 2019 edition of Daily Wisdom and I’ve edited ten of them.
New and upcoming blog interviews:
August 30: Interview and giveaway about Blue Ribbon Brides with Catherine Castle: https://catherinecastle1.wordpress.com/
September 21-24: At-Home Conference http://theathomeconference.blogspot.com/
I’m teaching a class on Building a Career for the Christian Writer.
Christian Authors Network blog: Who Is a Hero? http://wp.me/p4zUb8-39j
Today I’m happy to introduce Carrie to you…
ECPA-bestselling author Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of fifteen Christian historical romances. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper.” Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.
Thank you Darlene, for having me as a guest on your blog! I’m posting about making the choice to deliberately pursue joy. I was recently blessed with the ability to spend a month in Mackinaw City, with a few nights on Mackinac Island, too. We had such an amazing time! One thing I became very mindful of was of choosing joy. For someone with an autoimmune disorder (I’m disabled from Rheumatoid Arthritis that has never gone into remission) I’ve known for a long time that despite my pain I had to pursue joy with God. Joy in the Word. Joy in spending time with the Lord.
But up North, I became more mindful of the pursuit of joy in other ways. God surrounds us with people who can either uplift us or bring us down. This was the longest time I’d spent near the area I grew up in since I’d left for graduate school many years ago. And because Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula are vacation destinations, you have a lot of happy people coming through because they are there to relax, decompress, and enjoy time with one another. Each morning, from our rental cottage, we’d hear the Shipler ferry dock personnel announcing the boarding times, on the hour. Another group of people were enjoying the opportunity to take a beautiful ride across the straits to magical Mackinac Island.
I have to say, compared to where I live, the people we encountered in the area were happy, upbeat, polite, and positive. The locals almost all either worked two or three hours or if they owned a business, they were putting in 12 hours days, seven days a week. They have to get their work in while all the tourists are there, about three months out of the year. There are only about 800 people who are year-round residents but on any given day, there can be 20,000 people in the area!
It seemed to me, that residents were choosing joy, and to be engaged with people. Where I live, I have to admit, I don’t see that quite so much. And I’ve become more cognizant of “psychic vampires” – people who suck the energy out of you. God doesn’t call us to a life where we continue to engage with such people. Sometimes if God has told us to choose joy in relationships, that means ending certain “friendships” with people who really aren’t our friends. God knows who they are. And sometimes He shows us, too.
Question: Have you had God call you to a life of joy? What changes has that meant for you?
Giveaway: A copy of My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring or one of Carrie’s other books.
My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring
Journey now to Mackinac Island where…
A Tangled Gilded Age Love Story Unfolds.
Although the Winds of Mackinac Inn has been in her mother’s family for generations, Maude Welling’s father refuses to let her run it without the guidance of a husband. So she seeks to prove her worth and independence by working incognito as a maid at the Grand Hotel.
Undercover journalist Ben Steffan, posing as a wealthy industrialist, pursues a story about impoverished men chasing heiresses at the famed hotel. While undercover, he becomes attracted to an intriguing maid. By an act of heroism Ben endears himself to the closed-mouthed islanders—including Maude—and he digs deep for his story.
But when scandal threatens, will the growing love between Maude and Ben be scuttled when truths are revealed?
Links to purchase:
My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring (Barbour Publishing, July 2017)
I’ve turned the manuscript for Her Rocky Mountain Highness, part of the John Denver tribute, over to my editor.
Next week, I’ll complete the final edits to Christmas Child, part of the Christmas Mascarade series. It should be published over Labor Day weekend. Here’s the book blurb:
A year ago scandal ruined the annual Nanepaushat Cotton Mill Christmas Masquerade—the owner’s son tarried with a mill worker and she left, shamed and pregnant.
Tragedy strikes this year when the same son dies in a tragic accident. Can supervisor Preston Marshall and the shunned woman’s cousin redeem the flailing Masquerade and rescue the Christmas child? How will they overcome the difference in their positions?
I’ve also completed 24 of the 59 devotionals due for the 2019 edition of Daily Wisdom.
Upcoming Dates of Interest:
August 28: Interview and giveaway about Blue Ribbon Brides with Catherine Castle: https://catherinecastle1.wordpress.com/
August 31: FGMN National Parks Wilderness Weddings Celebration https://www.facebook.com/events/321123691682446/. 5-7 PM EDT
September 21-24: At-Home Conference http://theathomeconference.blogspot.com/
I’m teaching a class on Building a Career for the Christian Writer.
Sally Reid’s family decides on a dangerous course when the Tories of Maple Notch, Vermont, chase Patriot families from their land. When Josiah Tuttle discovers their secret and offers to help, Sally doesn’t know if she can trust him. After all, Josiah’s father is one of the Tories who forced her family into hiding. The Tuttles have already lost one son to the hated Patriot cause. How can Josiah both honor his grieving father and protect the woman he loves? When called upon to take a stand, which side will he choose?
Learn more at Amazon
“This is a well done story giving an insight into the Revolutionary War and its impact on families in towns being on opposite sides. Division in families also. But the love story is excellent. Nicely done. Highly recommend this one.“
“This was a sweet historical Christian book set just before the American Revolution! A wonderful story of honor and commitment despite your family and neighbors’ views! Only God can heal what’s broken and change a man’s heart! Absolutely loved it!”
“For a short story it is filled with so much and takes the reader on an emotional roller-coaster ride with tears, grief, joy, laughter, sadness, excitement and faith. We see the effects of war, hate and bitterness, neighbors pulling together, history in the making and I love the faith elements and spiritual roots woven throughout the storyline.”
Authors are always grateful for reviews and I appreciate every review I receive for one of my books. Thank you to these ladies for sharing their thoughts. Happy Reading, everyone!
God dropped another door in my path this week. One of our Sunday preachers at the nursing home brought a visitor: his sister, all the way from Harare, Zimbabwe.
It turns out Tapiwa Gwenlisa “Gwen” Marange is a lot more than my friend’s sister and my sister in Christ. She’s also an international mover and shaker in the United States on special invitation from the Mandela Washington Fellowship. Her cause? International Albinism awareness.
I am two-thirds of my way through the edits on Her Rocky Mountain Highness. TBR in October and I’ve completed 16 devotions for the 2019 edition of Daily Wisdom. Forget Me Not Romances has released a collection of previously published Christmas titles. A Beach Christmas includes my story, Merry Christmas, With Love.
Check out this recent and upcoming guest blogs:
Already posted with Book giveaways:
Inspy Romance: http://www.inspyromance.com/once-upon-a-time-a-guest-post-by-darlene-franklin/
Debbie Costello: http://debbielynnecostello.com/
August 31 5 PM EDT/4 PM CDT: National Parks Wilderness Celebrations