Sunday, April 26, 2009

Writing Mainstream Fiction

I've been doing all the "time to get serious" stuff that I always do for a book once I realize that it's a "go." I've created my storybuilding wiki (which I use TiddlyWiki for). I've given all my characters first and last names. I've numbered my chapters and named my scene breaks. I've come up with a six-sentence outline of the entire plot.

The genre is Contemporary Romance. It's not a genre I read much of, but it is a genre that I've read a great deal of, in years past. Like most romances, it's a standalone novel. This will be the first standalone novel I've contemplated. Even with my Christian novel, I envision a five-book series. I seem to think in series. Not this time. This means everything will have to resolve. No dangling plot threads. And such genres usually have an 80,000 word limit. It will be my shortest book yet.

My approach is quite different. With Starcaster, I held on tight and let the plot take me for a ride. Here, I'm being a lot more deliberate. When I came up with all my characters in my wiki, I tagged a bunch of them if they could be classified as protagonist or antagonist. While doing this, I came up with another antagonist, because I needed someone to betray my heroine. I also realized that a good supporting character was, in fact, an antagonist. He's a good antagonist, but since he's working against my character, that makes him an antagonist in my novel. Another neutral character turned out to be an antagonist, and a while back, I realized that another antagonist will turn into a protagonist over the course of the story.

And I'm giving myself a deadline. I have to be able to enter it into the Golden Hearts contest by December. Sometime over the summer, I'm going to join RWA. That way, I won't have to pay both rather expensive fees at once.

And no, I still haven't finished the Christian novel. I figure I can work on them both. When the muse goes silent for one, he just might speak for the other.


  1. A storybuilding wiki--I may have to build one of those for my world.

  2. I recommend them highly. They have a bit of a learning curve, but they are GREAT in prodding thought in unexpected directions.

  3. I tend to think in multiple novels as well. The standalone is indeed a daunting thought, though I have no doubt you will pull it off. Good luck!


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