Welcome to week two of NaNoWriMo Prep mini-series. For those of you who are new, I am posting a four part series on how to prepare for National Novel Writing Month. To get caught up you can find the first post in this series, here. This week is all about fleshing out your novel.

First a quick review of what your assignment for the week was. You were to think through some ideas for the plot of your story. Once you have a few ideas for your story, you were to summarize the plot in one sentence. While I didn’t say it last week, I will now. You should try to get your sentence no longer than twenty words. I spent some time this week to rework my one sentence. Here is what it was last week:

Estranged twin sisters meet up and fight only to realize they have a common enemy and to stop him.

While that was good and does sum up the plot, it could be better. Here is what it is now.

Estrange sisters get entangled in events that lead to a war that happened before they were born.

Seventeen words, the new sentence is. Not only is it shorter by two words, it better summarizes the plot of the book. You might be thinking “so what if it is shorter by two words. What difference do two words make?” Well, as a writer, we want to be able to explain thing in the least amount of words that isn’t losing meaning. Second, this one sentence is known as an elevator pitch. Think of it this way: You are in an elevator hotel and who happens to walk onto the elevator, but a man with a name tag on and the name of publishing company you were planning to send your manuscript when you finished. You get the

You are at a writing convention in the elevator with another man when a woman walks on. You take notice of her name tag to see she is an agent. She takes notice of yours and the other man’s name tags.

“You two are part of the convention?” She asks.

“Yep!” the other man says.

“I am,” you say.

“What is your novel about?” she asks the other man.

“Well, you see, it is about this guy who is from the future and he came back to observe an event. Shit!” the other man says. “You weren’t supposed to know he is from the future. Let me start again.”

The woman holds up her hand. “No thanks. How about you.”

The man to your left blew his chance, but you won’t. “Estrange sisters get entangled in events that lead to a war that happened before they were born.”

“Wow, that’s really interesting.” She reaches into her jacket pocket and pulls out a business card and hands it to you. “Call me. I would love to hear more about your book.”

The elevator stops the doors open and she gets out. You look down at the card, and you see next to her name is the agency you were planning on sending your manuscript to when it was ready.

 

You might think this is crazy, but this happens all the time at writing conventions. Agents are there to find new talent and simply being able, to sum up, your whole novel in a short sentence could get you a meeting with them or them asking you to send your novel to them. Beyond being able to use this in a pitch for your book, it is a great way to help start your novel.

Now that you have your one sentence plot summary. It is time to expand it. Before I go any further, I want to let you know I will be going steps from Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method of outlining. I will only be going over a few steps. If you’re interested you can find the whole method here.

It is time to make that one sentence into a paragraph. Not just any paragraph, but a paragraph with only five sentences. Why only five sentences? That’s easy. One sentence to give me the backdrop and story setup. Then one sentence each for your three disasters or plot points. Then one more sentence to tell the ending.

Emily and Taryn haven’t seen each other since they were four years old; Emily joined Master Bishop and learn the art of life while Taryn joined the Masia Mage Society and learned magic. The two are brought back together after the man Chrono N brought destruction into their lives; For Taryn, he sent a student to his death to attack her school, Emily, he sent and succeeded in killing the man her master protected. Sister united and long with their friends, they are sent on a mission that leads them to the Temple of Knowledge to learn what the War Lord Chrono is up to. After finding the temple, sisters, friends and hired spaceship pilot and co-pilot they reach the lost source of a powerful energy that Chrono is after to launch a war for control of the universe, where they are forced to fight the powerful life user.

My paragraph is fresh and will spend the week fine-tuning it, but you get the idea. Technically it is five sentences. Spend some time developing yours this week. Now step three. Wait, you thought we were done. Nope. There is more. Once you have a paragraph you like that summarizes your plot it is time to take it to the next level. Take each sentence and turn it into its own paragraph. While in the Snowflake Method, it says each paragraph should be five sentences, but you don’t have to do that. By the time you are done you should have a one-page synopsis of your story. If you want, you can then take each paragraph and turn it into its own page making a five-page in-depth synopsis. However, that is up to you.

I am not going to post a five paragraph summary of my novel here. I may next week, but I doubt it. I will post my fine tuned paragraph, though. This week, you have a lot to do, so get cracking. Next week, we will be looking at characters.

If you have never been to my blog before, and like this post. You may be interested in my other posts. On Friday’s I post a Craft Post every week. We have been going through a long series on Worldbuilding. You can get caught up by going to the Worldbuilding link in the toolbar. It will give you all the sub-series we have covered thus far. This week, we will be covering the third and final post in our Civilizations sub-series.

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