Story Mapping

Sometimes the hardest part of preparing to write a novel is simply mapping out the story. The great idea comes, the characters step forward, the world begins to build, but then something else happens… We get lost in the middle.

keep-calm-and-make-a-map-5I suffer from this ailment just like everyone else. I know how to start the story. I know how to finish the story. I’m not always sure what happens about midway through the story to get my characters from point A to point B.

My current novel seemed like it should be easy to move through. After all, how could I not understand how to write a historical fiction story that moves from A to B? The story is already written for me, right?

Wrong. I have learned that trying to someone’s life in one novel is incredibly challenging. Instead of just using the life of the character to move through the story, I found out that I had to learn how to story map. Each important event in her life is written on an index card, like a piece of the puzzle, and so that it can be arranged as the story needs it. While the novel has one overarching plot to drive it forward, pieces of the past must be strategically placed throughout the novel in their own chapter to help the reader move through the events and understand how she got to where she is going next.

This project is teaching me a lot as a writer that my previous stories never fully did.

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