Thursday, February 21, 2013

Roadmapping Your Tales

So next week I am off to the Florida Christian Writers Conference to learn lots, see some old friends. and hopefully get an agent. *crosses fingers* So excited and a little nervous... 

First of all I finished that drawing of Lenerys that was requested some...months ago... I hope you like it, Curious. :)

For the last two months or so I've been reading tons of blog posts and going over old conference notes so I can absorb as much information as I can for prepping for the upcoming conference I'm attending.

My brain was in serious pain with information overload, but I did learn a lot. During massive writer intake, one thing that occurred to me is five questions to ask yourself at the beginning of your book and throughout writing it so you can keep track of your story without having to outline everything or just riding on the seat of your pants.

Don't get me wrong. I know both stated methods are successful, but I find outlining too restraining and pantsing too wild so I'm a planster (panster/plotter) which is a hybrid of the two. I wish I'd known about these kind of questions at the beginning of my writing journey. It would have saved me a lot of time and writer's block. So I hope you can use these questions as a road map for your fantastical tale in the making.

On to those questions... I call them the Four Ws and an H Questions. :)

1.) Who's going on this books journey? - Who are your characters? Who is the main character? Secondary characters? Your villain? How are they all important to the book? Sometimes it's hard to remember all of these so write them down. Make profiles for them. They're just like people just not real. ;)

2.) Where are they? - Are they on planet Niffnee? Earth? A fantastical world of swords and knights of your creation? Do they change location in the book?

3.) When are they doing this? - The future where hamsters have become the dominant race? Victorian Age England? (Heh heh there's my name) Modern day?

So those are the fun ones. You probably already know those and thought about them while doing chores or during walks. I know I do with mine. ;)

4.) What are their goals? - This one always tripped me up when I started out writing. I'd think of these crazy events and cool characters, but then they wouldn't have a goal to tie them together. The characters have to have something to drive them on.

Do the characters have to save the hamsters from making the humans run on hamster wheels to make power? Or does your female character just want be reunited with her true love? Lets go deeper... Do they have personal sub-goals? Do they want to better themselves? Do they want to get that job, but a bigger goal interrupts that?

5.) How are they going to reach their goal? - This is the tough part, but it also is the funnest and this question you'll probably ask yourself the most from chapter to chapter. How are they going to stop the hamsters? How is the female main character going to reunite with her true love? What events in your story are going to drive her/him towards that goal? And what events are going to stop them? You gotta make the road a little rocky. ;)

You may think these are duh questions, but when you get caught up in your story you forget them sometimes and end up deleting a bunch of characters and fluff chapters that slow down your story. An author once told me that "Everything in your story has to be important. Every chapter and every sentence." Make every sentence count in your book to make it an awesome journey not just for you or your characters, but for those eager readers. :)

Using these five questions can help you know where you're going in your story while still giving you the freedom to let the book grow on its own. Asking them to myself has been helping me. I hope they help you! Thanks for reading! :D

What tricks do you use for roadmap your tales? Do these help? Are you a plotter, panster, or a planster?


  1. I love Lenerys!!! the coloring looks great love love love it! :D good luck at your conference!

    1. Awesome! :) Glad you like her! :D Thanks. :) I'm going to do a post about it.

  2. Nnhrg, had a really nice comment here about your questions and my internet died on me...

    OK, so these questions are good questions to have while writing a book. I personally prefer the plotline instead, finding it more engaging and fun to go back and see how far you've come. Also while you're writing with a plotline you're going to change it up some anyways.

    But these no brainer questions are also ones that a lot of people forget to keep in mind even with plotlines. They'll often go off on tangents and lose sight of the real goal of the story and let their characters change into something they're not. I personally have made this mistakes numerous times... But with letting one's imagination go free you can come up with a lot of sub stories that keep the real story really spicy and interesting.

    And that last part about having every last detail important, very good advice in keeping the word count down and writing a good focused story. But sometimes those needless fluffy chapters are really fun to have in there as well. :3

    I love fluff, it's all so fluffy.

    Jordan Hodge