PlotHello everyone! Last blog we focused on what to do when starting the writing process. We touched on things such as fiction or nonfiction, the point of view, who the narrator will be, and naming your book. Today we are going to focus on Genre, Plot and Character Development.

When it comes to Genre, it is important to remember that you’re writing for a specific group of people. You wouldn’t put complex things inside of a children’s book, and you won’t put erotic things inside of a Religious based book. You have to know who you are writing to. There is nothing wrong with writing what you like to write about, not everyone is going to like everything, it is impossible, everyone is different. So rather you are T.D. Jakes or Zane, it doesn’t matter what you write about, it matters the genre, so choose carefully.

Plot and character development are essential in any book. No matter fiction or non-fiction. As you are writing you have to make a sound decision; is this going to be a plot driven book or a character driven book? Plot driven books are books that no matter who the characters are, the book should be interesting and successful. Character driven books are books that no matter what the plot is, people want to know what’s going on with a specific character.

The normal plot function can be described in five parts also known as a dramatic arc; the exposition, which is normally at the start of a story that introduces important background information to the readers such as the setting, events or back-story. Next is the rising action, this is what is related series of events and incidents that build toward the point of greatest interest, during the rising action portion of the book, readers should be compelled to continue turning the page (or scrolling down) to see what will happen next. Next is the climax, the turning point, where the greatest action is, the story is unfolding (for good or for the bad) for the protagonist and everything following this point should be explanation of this. Next is the falling action, where the conflict of the protagonist and the antagonist come to a head. There has to be a winner and a loser and during this portion of your book, it is unveiled. Then the resolution, this is when everything should be answered, conflicts resolved and making things normal, or normal from whatever standpoint is normal in your book. Now you don’t have to write like that, but it is a good way to plan your plot around. Modern writing should have at least an exposition, climax and resolution with action somewhere in between.

Some questions that are asked when determining the plot are:

1)      Is it believable?

2)      Is it unique?

3)      Is the point of the novel presented clearly and is it apparent to the reader?

4)      Is the focus of the work revealed early in the novel?

5)      Is there a planned series of carefully selected interrelated incidents?

6)      Does each incident propel the reader forward or provide needed but succinct background information?

7)      Do incidents or plot developments occur in the appropriate sections of the novel?

8)      Is there a clear highest point of the action?

9)      Do incidents anticipate but not reveal the conclusion?

These are just some of the questions that are asked about when professionals are reading a novel. There are more questions, and if you would like more, please e-mail me and I will be glad to talk it over with you. But the plot is important to the novel. Readers must be able to follow it without great difficulty, they shouldn’t get bored early on in the novel, given them something fun to read, and something they want to read and remember that genre matters!

When developing your characters you have to be specific and descriptive, especially with the main character. From reading books myself, to speaking with other people who read books, readers tend to like books with characters they can either sympathize or empathize with. Readers like to put themselves in the place with the main character or another important character. Make your protagonist likable or at least believable and unique such as the plot development. If you have a good character, you can have a few good books with that character, you never know.

You want to describe the main character, try to do it as soon as possible. You would go see a movie in all black now would you? I wouldn’t think so, so give the readers a visual (unless you have a picture book), describe as accurately as possible, don’t overdo it, and only do it once unless something changed about their appearance. And when describing other characters, only describe them once, readers don’t want a description ever chapter, just once is fine. Now I can’t tell you how to promote each character, you have to do that yourself depending on what you’re writing for, overcoming a struggle? Slaying a dragon? You have to develop that yourself. Please see the questions regarding the plot and you can use them interchangeably with characters as well.

Genre, plot and character development go hand in hand and are extremely important in the writing process. If you select the proper genre, make a good plot and develop your characters well, you just have to let the words and the story come from your fingers.

Next up in the Writing a Book Series is Writing the Manuscript. Stay tuned!