Don't know where to start? Here are some exercises and tips to getting the good stuff down on paper.
A question every first time author has is: Where do I begin? Your idea has been expanding within your mind for months, you know who your characters are, your setting, your plot. Now it's time to put everything into story form. Problem is, you don't know where in the world to begin.
Here's where to start.
On top of a sheet of paper write: Story Grid For _____________________
Fill in the blank with your title. Under that write: Premise and describe, in one sentence what your story is about. Example from my work-in-progress This Magic Moment, the premise is: A life shattered by tragedy is repaired by love. Under premise write: Focus--what is the focus of your story? For instance: The Power of Love.
Next, make four columns across and nine down. In the first column you will write the following:
1. Long-Range Goal: (What the character thinks s/he wants)
2. Short-Range Goal: (What the character thinks will get him what he needs)
3. Unconscious Goal: (What is really needed)
4. Conflict of Circumstances: (Outside situation)
5. Conflict of Personality: (Fears)
6. Redeeming Qualities: (What will triumph over fears)
7. Conflict of Relationship: (What keeps them apart)
8. Danger: (If s/he falls in love, they will risk what)
9. Epiphany: (lesson learned)
Above and across, in the remaining three columns on the top, you will write: Hero -- Heroine -- Villain. Now is when the fun begins! You will fill in all the blanks for the nine listed story ingredients on your left for your HERO, HEROINE, and VILLAIN. This will take some time but you'll soon discover it's a lot of fun as you put the pieces of your story together. But...you're not finished yet!
Take a second piece of paper and make five columns across and seven down. In the first column write:
1. Inciting Incident: (Event that starts the action)
2. First Turning Point: (Hero or heroine makes decision to deal with problem)
3. Second Turning Point: (Character realizes how big the problem is)
4. Third Turning Point: (Character accepts responsibility for problem)
5. Crisis: (Character makes decision to do something to get what s/he wants)
6. Climax: (The action character takes as a result of decision)
7. Resolution: (The situation after action is taken)
Above, and across, in the remaining four columns write: Hero -- Heroine -- Relationship -- Story (External). Again, you will go down the list of seven story elements and fill in the information for your hero, heroine, their relationship, and the external story (what is going on in their outside world).
This story grid example is primarily for romance and romantic suspense. It can be adjusted to fit any genre.
Very helpful! What a gift. Thank you.