Gearing up for Nano-Setting up a strong foundation

Oh my, it’s already September! You know what that means? Nano is right around the corner. For those of you who don’t know what that is…Nano is writing a book in a month.

So in the interest of gearing up for it, I thought I’d use Tool-box Tuesday to give you some tools to get ready. This is the first in a series we’ll be doing on building your outline. Now I know there are those of you out there who write by the seat of your pants. But if you’re going to write a book in a month, you might want to have at least a basic outline. I myself am a plotting maniac and love the process, but I thought I would narrow it down for those who don’t plot or for those of you who like me, are flat out crazy busy but want to have a basic outline before the 1st of Nov. So today I’m going to talk about conflict.

Conflict-This is the key to any novel, short or long, no matter the Genre. If you were building a house, you would need a solid foundation for the structure to be strong and durable, right? Think of conflict as the foundation you will build your entire story structure on. It has to be a big enough conflict to hold up though the entire story and if you’re lucky, possibly one or two small spin off conflicts. This conflict cannot be solved easily and should involve showing growth from either the hero or heroine or both. Here is an example from the book I’m currently revising:

  • Hero does not just have a serious aversion to psychics based on experience from younger years, he also believes their con artists.
  • Heroine is a psychic who has been betrayed in the past by ex-Fiancé because he couldn’t live with her psychic abilities.

Here I’ve used one conflict to involve both my Hero and Heroine. You can see from the example above that both my characters are going to have to grow, compromise, and take chances in order for this to work. It does not necessarily have to be that way. You can have a conflict that focuses more on one or the other character that ends up being the major conflict. Here is another example of the top of my head that does that:

  • Hero is a soldier recovering from an injury and suffering from PTSD.
  • Heroine is a physical therapist working with him to overcome his physical injury, but recognizes the signs of PTSD and wants to help him.

You can see in the example above that the main conflict will be the Hero’s. So the major character ARC will probably be his. But there will still be a journey they both have to take, and a conflict to resolve before they can have their HEA.

In the coming weeks we will start building on the foundation of the conflict until we have a workable outline to use for Nano. I really do love plotting, so would love for y’all to share an example of the conflict you’re either already working with or one you’re thinking about using for Nano. If you haven’t yet, make this the year you reach your goal in November!

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4 Responses to Gearing up for Nano-Setting up a strong foundation

  1. nikkiweston says:

    Ladies, I am in plotting hell at the moment, but need to stay for another while. As you both know, my pantsing attempts give me masses of trouble, and I feel sure that plotting is the way to go right now. Taking Carol Hughes ‘Deep Story I’ class over at FTHRW and it is amazing, but for this writer, the work I’m doing is excruciating. Can I repeat that? Ex-CRU-ciating! Like, assignments take me HOURS because I suck so much at plotting, and I hate having to come up with answers. Nah, doesn’t make any sense to me either, but hey, this is my crazy goddamned process. It sucks, but it means my weeks ahead will be SO much smoother. I cannot go through another NaNo scrambling for ideas, hating myself, and my choice of career.

    Aside from all that excruciation (ahem! I do apologize again), I’m super excited about NaNo. September was the start of my Don’t Break the Chain writing habit, and I’m pleased to say the chain is intact! Words are slow (see plot excruciation above) but I’m putting the hard work in now so I can vomit out the words for the rest of the winter.

    Looking forward to hearing more in the run-up to November, thanks!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia Tyler says:

      Nikki, I feel your pain…Ok. Not really because I love plotting. Sorry. I love plotting mine and helping others plot theirs. So if you ever need to brain storm give a shout. I do feel your pain though. Everyone has different things about writing that are painful to that individual. Mine is revising. I feel like I’m pulling my hair out with revisions and this is not the first time. But so happy to see you taking the initiative even though it’s excruciating and getting your plot outlined in a way that allows you to vomit (laughing at this) the words. Good for you! Can’t wait to see what your WIP is.


  2. Lora Bailey says:

    Nice post Tricia. I’m also a plotter. If I don’t have a list or an outline I get lost. Once I tried to do the “pants” thing, and I ended up with something that resembled a twisted wad of wet spaghetti. Someday I’ll go back to the “Twisted Wad” and rewrite it – using an outline. For this year’s NaNoWriMo I’m going to pick up an old idea and put a new twist on it. I plan to use Scrivener for the first time to do it – so I have, what about 6 weeks to get myself organized enough to write an entire novel in 30 days? Yikes!


    • Tricia Tyler says:

      Ha! That’s one of the reasons I wanted to do this series. Nano is right around the corner and having a plot or at least a rough outline of one will help to actually meet the goal of writing a book in a month. Plus I figured it would motivate me to get my outline tuned up for the second book in this series so I could complete it during November as well. Can’t wait to hear what your plotting Lora.


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