Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Plotstorm--Preparing for a Writing Spree PLUS DOUBLE DRAWING!

For this post, I thought I'd do something different and fun. And since it's Christmas, I'd like to offer those of you who comment on this post a chance to win one of two prizes: 2 thirty minute brainstorming/plotstorming sessions with me. You can choose between 1.) helping me Plotstorm my next book (might appeal to you readers-only) or 2.) me helping you Plotstorm/brainstorm your book. If you'd like to be entered in a drawing for one of the above chances, add a comment to this post, letting us know which prize you'd like a chance to win, as well as leave us a valid e-mail address should your name be drawn. Deadline for entry is Friday, Dec 19 at midnight.

Disclaimer Note: my input DOES NOT guarantee you will be published. This is just a chance to brainstorm with a published author who loves to help others and who works with editors on a regular basis.

Now...on to the guts of this post:

I tend to write a rough draft in under a week. I am an instinct writer. I think that comes from being an avid reader of the genre in which I write. For the most part, I am a panster. However, writing a book as fast as I do requires some pre-work. I call it plotstorming.

Everyone has different methods. I am always changing (and hopefully improving!) mine. This method won't work for everyone. But for my post today, I thought I'd share a list of things I HAVE TO KNOW before rushing off into my writing spree. It is a fill-in-the-blank list.

The ***KNOW MY CHARACTERS*** part is more complex. I always know more about my characters than my plot when I first start out. Getting to know my characters and doing my story research or research on the character's career are the two most time-consuming things I do when writing. On another day, I will share my character chart with you. But for now, just know that the ***KNOW MY CHARACTER*** is a fill-in-the-blank list all on its own that is way too long to list here. But in that chart, I'd know (about the hero and heroine) things like:

Character Career___________
One-word adjective_________
Physical Description___________
Hair style/color________
etc, etc, etc and a gazillion other things.
This character chart is literally PAGES long.

Also, the prepwork/plotstorm involves making things easy on my family prior to my writing spree. Which means cooking a week's worth of meals and freezing them to make life easy for my family during my Weeklong Rough Draft Writing Spree. I clean my house top to bottom (because I can't concentrate well with clutter around me...sorry...it's the OCD in me. LOL!) And I plan exclusive activities with members of my family days prior to and following my spree so they don't feel neglected and are able to show more grace during the week I am unavailable. I sometimes leave my house to write, but sometimes I retreat to my room or office or otherwise quiet place. I also make sure they have an emergency number for me. I also try to clear out all my Inboxes and take care of any committments so I don't have to stop and take care of another project. Once I start writing, it's best to just blow through it, otherwise I tend to write scenes out of order which is a nightmare later.

For this blog post, I'm sharing my list of things OTHER than character specs.

I write action-romance but I imagine you could adapt this list to any genre/sub-genre.

I hope you can take something of value from it:

Cheryl's Plotstorm List

The Meet Cute: How will heroine/hero meet?
The Draw and Push: (What plot element will keep shoving them together? What story element or secondary character will keep them in contact throughout the book? Also, what (conflict and conflicting goals) will continually be prying them apart.)

Hero and Heroine's Story Goals
Hero and Heroine's Motivation
Hero and Heroine's Conflict: External, Internal, Spiritual, Relational

Hero and Heroine's careers

Story setting (I always know where the story takes place but not necessarily the season of year)

Inciting Incident (the chaos, disaster, crux, dilemma, catastrophe or change that opens/starts/catalyzes the story. This ends up being scene 1/opening hook.)

Relationship Reticence-hero
Relationship Reticence-heroine

1st Major Disaster
2nd Major Disaster
3rd Major Disaster aka Black Moment

Important Ancillary I use main characters' interactions with one or two important secondary characters to help characterize and sympathise them to readers. "Important Ancillary" is the character (other than hero and heroine) who is most central/important to the plot.

Basic Premise: (a one-sentence summary or few paragraph blurb of the basic story idea.)

Scene Index Skeleton: (not a chapter chart. These are one-liner plot points describing what goes into each scene. This is never exhaustive when I start out and my conflict and tension always gains momentum as I write)

The Resolution: (In a romance, I always know the hero and heroine will get together in the end. I like to know before starting out which one of them is most resistant to the relationship and why. I also like to know the what, where, when and why of the resistant one to giving in and realizing they can't live without the other person.)

Most of my story time lines span about a 6 month time. Since I know that, I don't have that on the chart. But if your story time lines vary, you may find it useful to add. So I'll put a lean Plotstorm list below.


Cheryl's Short Plotstorm List:

The Meet Cute
The Draw and Push or Keep Cute
Hero and Heroine's Story Goals
Hero and Heroine's Motivation
Hero and Heroine's Conflict: External, Internal, Spiritual, Relational
Hero and Heroine's careers
Story setting
Inciting Incident
Relationship Reticence-hero
Relationship Reticence-heroine

1st Major Disaster
2nd Major Disaster
3rd Major Disaster aka Black Moment

Important Ancillary
Basic Premise
Scene Index Skeleton
The Resolution
Story Timeline

If I've left something out, I'm sure it will come to me. Also, I wanted to mention on the Scene Index, I don't write down EVERY scene in the book. Just major milestone ones, such as the first kiss scene, and the scene that establishes attraction, disasters, etc. I will also give a Scene Index Example on another post another day.

I know the list probably doesn't seem like a lot. But as I said, I start out pretty minimal because I'm more of an instinct writer, which means I don't set out to plan themes, intricate structure and all that but somehow, in the end my books have that stuff in there.

For this reason I HIGHLY recommend that you avidly read current releases from any house, line and genre you are targeting.

Hope you find something useful. If you don't understand any of the elements (after all, I tend to use my own terminology...LOLOLOL!) please feel free to ask.

What kind of prep work, if any, do you do when you write?

Merry Christmas everyone! And don't forget to leave a comment, letting me know if you're interested in any of the above two prizes. Be sure to leave a valid e-mail address. Might wanna put spaces or brackets around the @ symbol so Net spiders don't get ya.

Here's a practical example from Ready-Made Family, my third book, which releases from Steeple Hill in April, 2009. If you want to see the finished product, the book is available for Pre-order now on Christianbook.com here.

I will also use this book to example the Scene Index and Character Charts I mentioned before in two of my future Seeker posts.


---The Meet Cute: H/h meet in a parking lot when heroine's daughter approaches Ben to say her mommy needs help. (Heroine is incapacitated from an electrolyte imbalance.)

---The Draw and Push or Keep Cute: Heroine, passing through town with her daughter, gets stranded in the town of Refuge. She passed out leaving a pharmacy lot and her car crashed into a light pole. Heroine isn't released from hospital until her health is restored. Garage has to order car parts and then heroine loses the job she's headed to. Hero suggests she stay in Refuge to find a job, claiming Refuge lives up to its name. She stays, but is resistant to him because she's not sure about his motives. Hero promises to help her find a job and provides rides to interviews, etc.

Hero and Heroine's Story Goals: Heroine needs to find a job before summer's end. Hero's goal is two-fold. He needs to prepare his Mosaic Down Syndrome brother to come live with him for a year and he also wants to help the down-on-her-luck heroine.

---Hero and Heroine's Motivation: Single mom heroine needs to provide for her daughter because her parents have her nearly convinced she can't. She fears men's motives because her daughter's father abandoned her after coercing her to sleep with him in high school, which led to her pregnancy. The church where she's from shunned her and so now she shuns church. Hero's motivation is that he is ashamed of the fact that he was ashamed of his brother growing up. Now he wants to rebuild his brother's trust so Hutton can come live with him while their parents go on a year-long world travel they've always dreamed of. Ben's Asian descent gives him a strong sense of honoring his elders. He wants to help heroine out of a sense of compassion and obedience, feeling like she was put in his path for a reason.

---Hero and Heroine's Conflict: External, Internal, Spiritual, Relational: Hero's external conflict is he continually gets called away on a mission or problems with Hutton. And the heroine's housing plans fall through. So his two goals of helping his bro and heroine clash against one another. Also he's trying to find his brother ajob. Heroine is looking for a job in same town so H/h goals clash. Heroine internal conflict is she doesn't believe people help one another without agenda. She doesn't trust Ben is helping her for no reason so she's reticent, yet needs his help. Relational conflict: Heroine was duped by her daughter's father and her father is critical of her, leading her to constantly question Ben's integrity. Spiritual conflict: Heroine thinks that since her old church shunned her for her mistake, then God must feel the same way. Hero is a new Christian but strong in his faith and determines to show her the truth about how God sees her.

---Hero and Heroine's careers: Heroine has high school diploma only. Forwent college because her funds went toward hospital bills for a preterm pregnancy. Being a single mom, she couldn't afford college but taught herself secretarial skills she hopes to utilize. Hero is a US Air Force Pararescue Jumper and church worship leader

---Story setting: Fictional Refuge in Southern Illinois

---Inciting Incident: Heroine passes out while driving in a parking lot. Her daughter runs for help, approaches Ben in the same parking lot. He rushes over to help.

---Relationship Reticence-hero: he needs to focus on re gaining his brother's trust rather than on romancing a girl.
Relationship Reticence-heroine: Heroine is most resistant to this relationship and relationships in general. She was decieved majorly by a guy with ill motives. Trust issues from that.

---1st Major Disaster: (after inciting incident) Hero contacts heroine's parents thinking to help. But they aren't getting along w the heroine at present. He had also let DCFS know there was an unattended child w incapacitated driver. This put heroine's plans and reputation in jeapardy. Heroine loses job and housing opportunity that she was headed to in Missouri. Stranded in Illinois now.

---2nd Major Disaster: Hero discovers heroine's dad is prejudiced against Asians and interracial/cross-cultural relationships. Heroine wants her relationship w her dad restored but now realizes she might have to choose between a relationship with Ben and one with her father. There is also a job clash. Heroine gives up her job to Ben's brother, putting her in a potential position to have to move out of Refuge to find a job.

---3rd & 4th Major Disaster aka Black Moment: hurricane hits heroine's parents home. Hero goes to help and gives his word to help. As Ben is on the roof helping while heroine's dad is yelling obscenities at him, Ben gets word from his team mates that his father has passed away. He needs to be with his mother and brother but vowed to finish the roof to earn heroine's dad's respect and complete this act of kindness even in the face of ugly prejudice.

---Important Ancillary: Hutton, Ben's Down Syndrome brother, and Reece, heroine's daughter.

---Basic Premise: Romanace. Cross-cultural/interracial. Hero determines to help a struggling single mother and ends up falling for her. But she has major trust issues and needs to know she can take care of her daughter on her own.

---Scene Index Skeleton: no room for this here. Will share it another post. But is a series of one-sentence summaries per scene. I normally have three scenes per chapter and normally around 20 chapters, so around 60 scenes total.

---The Resolution: Heroine chooses hero over her father. Heroine's mother chooses her daughter over her husband, who is being mule-headed. Through Hutton's words and Ben's acts of kindness and fear of losing his family, heroine's father comes to realize his prejudice is ugly and makes amends.

---Story Timeline: six month period

(For blog post-length sake, I left off some of the detail, but this will at least give you a gist of what kinds of things I write into the Plotstorm.)

Cheryl Wyatt


Walt Mussell said...

I am amazed by the amount of plotting you do, given that you refer to yourself as a pantster.

As for the drawing, I hope it's ok to be selfish and request working on mine. mandwmussell(at)yahoodotcom.

Lisa Lickel said...

This is pretty much everything you need to know in one - um, easy to find - place! Wow. I was putting off the final plotting for two books proposals that I put together last year already for Write for the Soul that are in suspended animation. I'd love to borrow your mind for one or the other.
Lisa Lickel

Tina M. Russo said...

OMG I am wow overwhelmed. This is awesome..YOU ARE SCARY GOOD.

Glynna Kaye said...

Oh, my! The secret to Cheryl's 20K a day productivity revealed to the public at last! (I get all excited when I hit a "paltry" 3,000 words in a day!). I'm going to have to print this one out and digest it. Thanks Cheryl!

lynnrush said...

Great post. You do do a lot of plotting. Thanks for sharing this.

Mary Connealy said...

Cheryl, you should be teaching this in a class at a writer's conference.
I'm going to copy this stuff into a file and use it ... I already sort of do but not in such a well conceived manner. Instead, for me, by the end, sure I know all this stuff but it's disorganized and kinda happens as I write. But that causes trouble.
Like aside details. How old are they. Did I say she was 28 earlier? If so, where, and was it 28 or 27? I get these things figured out for main characters often but secondary characters and passing details on a setting, I tend to write, then forget, then later, when I need to refer to, say, the fact that it's FALL, I need to make sure I didn't say something about the scent of the blooming lilacs on page 26.
All of these details aren't really HARD to decide, they just need deciding...and doing it in an orderly way like this is fantastic.

Gina Welborn said...


Wow wow.

And I thought the answer was 42.

Excuse me while I go collect the documents I sent to the printer. I now need to figure out how to adapt this into a technique to work for me. :-)

Janet Dean said...

Hi Cheryl,

Awesome post! I love seeing how you work. You do a lot of planning, more than I do and I consider myself a plotter. I'm copying your method to use as a guide for the book I'm working on now.


Ann said...

Many of your terms are super easy to remember, which helps me.

What I really, really liked was the amount of thought you put into prepping the family for your big week. Good thinking!

If you draw my name I'd go with the brainstorming help on my project.


vince said...

Hello Cheryl:

Your post today and Missy’s yesterday have changed the way I write. I am implementing the changes right now on a writing project.

Given you planning methods, I think I now understand why some authors can write three to four (and even more!) good books a year. I can see how your planning will solve a lot of writing problems down the road.

I’m a little worried however. I hope Ben is going to get his promotion. (Is it Ben who gets promoted? E-5 -- Staff Sergeant?)

Also, do you write down ahead of time how the main characters will have changed by the end of the story? That is, provide a statement of character growth or is that inherent in the resolution of story conflict?

If I win, BTW, I’d like to work on your novel as I know that one will be published.



Vmres at swbell dot net

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Sorry for being late dropping in, everyone. Doctor's appointments this morning. My entire house is sneezing. LOL!

Walt, sure! I'm glad people are actually "biting" on the prize. LOL!

I worried they wouldn't. Got you down. Thanks for stopping by. I'd say all that plotting takes a week or a month or so, depending on how long it takes me to map out my scene index.

But doing all that "frontwork" of the plotstorm enables me to write a book (from start to finish-rough draft) in a matter of days.

So it's a good system for me. It definitely won't work for everyone.

Thanks for visiting Seekerville!


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Lisa, thanks for dropping by. I've got your name down too.

Looking forward to our interview next year!


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Tina...ROFL...I think you might have a fever. Everyone in my house is sick so I had to hurry with a post. I feared it would be shoddy.

So, thanks for saying that. LOL!

Gee...I hope someone brought food. I'll go make some home made hot cocoa just in case. And I'll run to the market for ginormous blueberry bagels to dip in the cocoa...REALLY...sounds gross but it's good. Ya all gotta try it...

Back in a jiffy...


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Glynna...3k a day is NOT paltry. You've REALLY worked hard and I just know I'll be sharing shelf space with you sometime SOON!

I long for the day all Seekers will have a constant stream of stories on shelves everywhere.

Glad you thought the post was helpful.



Cheryl Wyatt said...


Thanks for coming by. I didn't think that was a lot of plotting..but maybe it is. LOL!



Cheryl Wyatt said...

Mary, you amaze me in your abilities and organized or not, whatever you're doing's working for ya. And for Barbour. And for your gazillion readers. Thanks for the kind words though. I'm glad it helped.

I really developed this more-organized method from working with Steeple Hill. They have an online editorial resource center that we have to go into the computer system and input information. We have to list the age of our three main characters and all those attributes that will be on the character chart I'll share in another post on another day.

Knowing that I have to, with each book, input that information in one sitting has made me have to know it upfront. Also, we have to summarize our book in about a page..the resource center gives a space for that.

Then the editors and art and marketing access that info on the center to do the work they have to in order to decide on a book cover, etc.

I'm glad my post helped. Everyone in my house has been sick this week and I feel like I just popped off a post and hit send. LOL!

I'm glad it made sense at least.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Aww, Janet...thanks. You all are making me blush.

Everyone, if you try this and it doesn't work for you...don't fret. You'll eventually find your groove. I'm constantly adapting mine.

I still feel so new at this in so many ways. So what I do today may be different next year. LOL! But for the most part, this is the method I used even prior to publication. Once I learned there was such a thing as craft that is. And once I learned that editors do really care about story structure and internal conflict, etc.

The strange thing is, my books normally have it in there..sometimes I can't list it. So my editor or a friend, Robin Miller aka Caroll or Camy will read the work and go, "oh, well here's your internal right here."

So this is mostly instinct for me. It's REALLY hard for me to pre-plan becaues my inclination is just to start typing something from absolutely nothing. Other than knowing my characters.

But this pre-plan method helped me tremendously when I had back-to-back and multiple simultaneous deadlines.


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Gina, LOL! Thank you. I hope you find it helpful.

It's always great seeing you in Seekerville. When you're not here, it feels like something important is missing from the mix.

Thanks also for plugging this post on your blog today. I'm honored. (It came to me in a Google Alert.)



Missy Tippens said...

Cheryl!! This is great stuff!!! And perfect timing for me as I dive in. I have my synopsis, but I'll make sure to go through your checklist before starting. I have a basic GMC chart, plus character studies. But I love some of the extras you put in.

Thanks for this great post!


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Ann, glad you found it helpful. Thank you for visiting us today!

I've got you down for the drawing.

Also, if everyone wants entered in the Cheryl-helps-you-brainstorm rather than the me-help-Cheryl-Plotstorm, then I'll just give away two me-help-you brainstorming sessions rather than one.


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Hi Vince,

Thanks for dropping by. I'm glad our posts are helping you to modify and hopefully improve your method. Iron sharpens iron and all that.

And Ben..his story was contracted about two years ago. So no telling what his rank is. LOL! However, I've been in contact with PJs and PJs in training and they're all telling me rank doesn't really matter. That regular Air Force rank is different with PJs because they are a unit to themselves so to speak. Many of them are enlisted and not officers yet they're still special operatives.

But yes from now on most of the regular PJs who aren't in a command possition are tech sergeants. LOL. Thanks!

And thanks for stopping by. I have you down for the second drawing.


Patricia W. said...

Cheryl, I've heard you talk about plotstorming before but this is a great summary. I'm printing it out for reference.

I'd love a plotstorm session with you, working on mine. pwriter1 (at) yahoo

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Also wanted to address the question/comment regarding character growth.

Yes, the characters always are changed by the end of the book. Though I don't write the end result down in the plotstorm, I know it basically will boil down to righting some wrong.

Normally, my character's internal struggles arise from some untruth they are believing, either about themselves, about another or about God. This is often the crux of their internal or spiritual or relational struggle.

So by the end of the book, I know they will come to believe the truth about themselves, another person or about God. This process whereby they come to believe the truth is also the process of changing them.

So, yes to answer your question, they are always changed by the end of the book. Normally one character moreso than the other because one character is always more "messed up" than the other. LOL!

I don't like having both of my leads having major issues. Though they both have stuff to work through, one character is always stronger spiritually and sort of leads the other, yet grow themselves in the process.

I don't really map the specifics of this out starting out but it always turns out that way. All I have to know is their struggle because I know I'll tie that loose end up, using God's intervention as well as the kindness of other Christian characters in the story.

Hope this makes sense.


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Missy, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad my post went well with your WONDERFUL one.

Hope you find something useful.

Did you all try bagels and hot cocoa? There are also miniature marshmallows for anyone interested.



Cheryl Wyatt said...

Hi Patricia!

Great to see you here!

Thanks for visiting us and thanks for your kind words about my Plotsotrm.

I've got your name down.


Diana said...

Great article, thanks Cheryl.
I'd love to win time with you to help me with my plot.
dlbrandmeyer at gmail.com

Pam Meyers said...

I'd love to be entered in you helping me to plot my story in my mystery series.
Like someone else said, I'm going to keep this post on file. Great stuff and I second the notion you shd be teaching this at conference!

Cheryl Wyatt said...


I'm glad you liked the article.

Thanks so much for coming by! I've got your name down.


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Hey Pam! SO great to see you here. Thanks for making me feel so welcome on the ACFW Opboard. You an Pam and Pam amaze me with all the hours you put in.

Thanks for dropping by Seekerville. Thanks also for the kind words. I'll consider putting in an application to teach a LNC or something.

I've got your name in the "hat" for the drawing.


Jessica said...

Me, me, me!
Okay, now I'm going to stop acting like a child and finish reading the post.
I think I only made it through the first paragraph.

Rose McCauley said...

Wow, Cheryl! I am really impressed with all this pre-planning from a self-avowed pantser! I would love to win a session from you to pre-plan my next book as I just finished my rewrites on my current WIP yesterday! crmcc at setel dot com ps. I'll be waiting for the next two posts on this, too!

Jessica said...

So now we know what your new book is about. :-)
Your methods are mind boggling. I'm on my third manuscript and have never, ever plotted anything out. It may be time to try, as much as it hurts my lazy bone. LOL
So please enter me for #2.


Crystal Laine Miller said...

I'm just getting ready to do some brainstorming with a couple writers, but I like the way this plotstorm brews. It would be fun to win a plotstorm session with you, Cheryl, so I'll enter. But if I don't win, well, we are already winners with such a detailed system.

And yes, at the next ACFW conference could you come and offer this as a one of the daily sessions? That would be great!


Cheryl Wyatt said...


I used to never plot either. But after several rejections with editors mentioning some missing story elements, I realized I had to do something different.

So I guess I'm a reformed panster. Though I'm definitely not a full-blown plotter. I know very basic info, mainly my characters.

Got your name down for the drawing. And yes, hopefully this will tease people into buying my third PJ book. LOL!

Thanks so much for visiting us here in Seekerville.


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Rose, thanks for coming by!

Got your name in the "hat". :-)

Normally we Seekers post about once a month each. So, unless a slot opens sooner, look for the next two in January and Feb.

Hope you'll drop by often. These ladies are a wealth of writing info.


Sandra Leesmith said...

Great post Cheryl, Definitely a keeper. Thanks for all the info and detail.

Hey Crystal=fun to hear from you again.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Also, I wanted to mention something on Character goals...they have to be more than the guy wanting the girl and the girl wanting the guy.

Character's goals should be something they want to obtain/accomplish by the end of the book. It has to be something concrete/measurable that can be obtained/accomplished/etc within a measurable amount of time. Does this make sense?
Goal is what is the one thing during this story that your character wants, dreams of, strives for, attempts, needs, etc?

Goal: What does your character want?
Motivation-Why do they want this?
Conflict: What (over and over) keeps them from getting it?

And motivation not only applies to goals but to conflict. Motivation primarily means why they strive for a certain goal. But motivation can also apply to internal conflict. Meaning why does this character have this flawed belief system?
In my books/characters, motivation normally arises from something in their background. From someone or something that happened in their past.
Hope this helps.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Hi Crystal!

Glad you stopped by. Got your name in the drawing.

I'll pray about teaching this at conference. Not sure I will be able to with my VP duties the next two years. But maybe after that.

Thanks so much for your kind words!

Good luck on your brainstorming session. If you incorporate any of this stuff, let me know how it goes and goes over. LOL!


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Thanks, Sandra! Glad you stopped in.


Mary Connealy said...


Mary Connealy said...

oNE OF MY favorite conflict-character goals is from a book the title of which I don't remember but at the time I remembered thinking this was the perfect external conflict.

She wants to save the historic town square and rehab and old building for her dream shop.

He is a modern art-style architect. He wants to tear down her building for his career making church...the style of which will destroy the town square. Which will serve the church and make the town a tourist attraction...cuz he's famous.

So SOMEONE can't have their dream come true.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Mary, I love it when the hero and heroine's goals clash in a romance.

Makes for a great story because in the end, someone's gotta give.


Cheryl Wyatt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheryl Wyatt said...

Another thing you can do with this list is use it to dissect books. When I read, I try to see if I can pick out all these things in the novel. That's a learning tool and I enjoy seeing how other authors execute these elements.


vince said...

Hi Cheryl:

You had mentioned before that one of your character’s was going to be promoted in your next book. That’s what I was thinking about.



Sharon A. Lavy said...

Wow 45 comments already. Sigh. Well, put me in the drawing. I need help with pre-writing.

sharonalavy at gmail dot com

Sharon A. Lavy said...

I eagerly await your next post about plotstorming.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Hey Vince,

Yep...thanks to you, that was Joel. He actually makes an appearance in every Wings of Refuge book. At this point I can't recall which book he ends up being a Chief Master Sergeant..but for sure he's one in the book I just turned in which I think it book five. My editors have asked me to have him revisit each book, if even briefly.

Thanks for your help with the AF rank stuff! It helped tremendously.


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Sharon, thanks for dropping by and for entering.

Those next two posts should go up in mid-January and mid-February.


Pamela J said...

I'm glad to know all the things you compile before even starting to write. Please do not enter me for either choice. Some day I will be there but today I don't feel there's any plot within me. Not to even flush it out in a storm. Have a great session with whoever you draw their name.
Pam Williams

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Pamela, great to see you here!

Thanks for stopping by.



Donnell said...

Cheryl, wow, your plotstorming guide is fantastic. Please add me to the drawing and delete all these other people because I would like to win :) Seriously, you break it down so well and easy to understand. I appreciate very much you reiterating that it's important to understand the line you're targeting and the genre as well. Very much appreciated, whether you remove everyone else or not ;) Thanks!

Rose said...

Hi Cheryl,

Thanks for sharing this great information with us. I'd like to entered in the drawing for help plotting my WIP.

Merry Christmas,

Rose Z

Rose said...


I forgot my email address.

RRossZediker(at)yahoo. com

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Donnell, thanks for coming by!

Got you in girl.

LOL on deleting everyone else.

Thanks for oyur kind words. It's always great talking to you!


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Rose, got you down. Thanks so much for dropping by!


Cheryl Wyatt said...

One thing I forgot to mention is that if you all want more info on the Goal, Motivation, Conflict model, get Deb Dixon's book GMC. It's wonderful.

Other great books from which I learned story set-up is Dwight Swain's Techniques of a Selling Writer, Noah Lukeman's First Five Pages, and Story Structure books by Jack Bickham and Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell.

There are more but I'm drawing a blank right now.


jean said...

Hi Cheryl, please enter me in the plotstorming give-a-way. I sure could use help from a writer whose skills i admire as much as i do you.

Cathy S. said...


I dropped by much earlier in the morning and was trying to think of something to say that might come close to matching your brilliant post.

I give up. But I'd love to be in the drawing for a plotting session anyway!


cathy (underscore) shouse (at) yahoo (dot) com

Could someone explain why we're spelling these e-mail addresses out? LOL

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Jean, thank you for your kind words!

Got you entered.


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Cathi, got you down. Thanks for coming by!

Oh, and the reason we're spelling out email addresses is so that when Net spiders scan, they can't phish your address and spam you.



Avily Jerome said...

Wow! That's a lot of great information/ideas.

How do you manage to write an entire first draft in a WEEK?!?!??!?! That's amazing!

I had a really hard time with NaNo doing it in a month! I made the 50k words that month, but I'm still trying to finish the story, and it's half-way through December!

Anyway, kudos, that's amazing, and please enter men in the contest! I'd love to have some plotstorming help!


Cheryl Wyatt said...


It has to be God gracing me with the ability because He knows my family comes first. I asked Him for the ability to write fast and to write well and to be able to write amid distractions...and HE DID! :-)

I don't take it for granted, believe me. Ask Him and see what He does! :-)

Thanks for stopping by..got your name down.


Camy Tang said...

Fantastic, Cheryl! (Don't enter me, btw)

Audra Harders said...

OMG, Cheryl! How I wish I could work like you do! No wonder words fly from your fingers.

Amazing, simply amazing. Hopefully it's not too late for me to learn a thing or two.

Thanks, kiddo!

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Camy & Audra..thank you for coming by and for your kind words.


Ruth Dell said...

Cheryl thank you so much for these plotstorming pointers! They are thought provoking and a great tool.

Please enter me for the drawing for a session to plotstorm my book.

Thank you

Ruth Dell
ruthdell [at] mweb.co.za

Crystal Laine Miller said...

Well, this is a popular place! and a lively discussion! Love it.

Mary Connealy--was the book Bookends by Liz Curtis Higgs? I remember that plot.

Hi, Sandy!! Write to me.

I won the Plotting board on this blog and I have the GMC book by Debra Dixon, so I'm going to see if I can dovetail that with this.

I meant to also say that I agree with Ann Shrock about how you manage with your family and your preparations prior to your writing session. These are the kinds of practical things that make life easier.

Sharon A. Lavy said...

I have all those books too.

Margay said...

What a great opportunity! You guys are awesome. I wouldn't mind either opportunity, but would probably prefer the second one (helping me plotstorm my book).

Margay1122 (at) aol (dot) com

Cheryl Wyatt said...


Thank you for coming by!

Got you down.


Cheryl Wyatt said...


Thank you for spending time with us in Seekerville. Got you down.


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Crystal, thank you. Family always comes first.


Donna Alice said...

Cool thoughts on how to plot - it might even help me! I'd love to have help brainstorming my demon of a book.

Cathy Bryant said...

Thanks for sharing this valuable info!
Cathy Bryant

Janelle said...

Your post was so hopeful. You do so much plotting, but sure it makes for much easier writing. I printed it out to save so I can refer to it again and again. I would love to borrow your brain to run through the plotting of my WIP.
Thanks so much,

Becky said...

Hi Cheryl,
I entered the Squirell's Treehouse last month for the first time and your post directed me over here. Wow! What a font of information you are. Thanks for sharing. I'd love to get a session with you.

Katie Hart - Freelance Writer said...

Wow - what a great post! I'm saving it in my bloglines feed reader so I can return to it again and again.

Cheryl Wyatt said...


Got you down. Hope you'll come back and visit often!


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Cathi, got your name in.

Thanks for visiting Seekerville. Hope you'll add us to your favorites.


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Yeesh...Cathy...Sorry for mistyping your name. Slip of the finger. I got you down. :-)


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Janelle, you're in the "hat". Thanks for your kind words. I hope you'll visit Seekerville often.


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Hey Becky! I remember you AND your entry. Thanks for supporting my blog and Seekerville with your readership.

These ladies are GREAT. A fount of wisdom, knowledge, fun and everything else grand under the sun.

Gotcha down for the plotstorm drawing.


Cheryl Wyatt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheryl Wyatt said...

Hi Katie! Great to see you here.

I hope you come by often.

If you want to be entered into the brainstorm drawing, be sure to let me know by the deadline.


Sally Bradley said...

Wow, Cheryl, what invaluable information. I've copied this onto a Word document to use when I start a new book next month. Thanks for sharing that with us.

pat jeanne said...

Cheryl, your advice on plotting is teriffic. Glad I didn't miss this one. I'm accustomed to plotting as I go along and tend to know more about the storyline than the characters. I sure could benefit from a session with you on brainstorming my latest. Please enter me into your drawing. Thank you so much.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Sally, thank you for stopping by. Please visit often!

Thanks also for your kind words. I'm glad it helped.


Cheryl Wyatt said...


I've got you down. Thank you for visiting our blog. I hope you will also check out the other Seekers' posts. I love these gals. They are a treasure trove of fun and learning. Hugs and boot heels...whenever I need each.

Thank you for your sweet words. I'm glad you found the post helpful.


Patty Wysong said...

Cheryl, I'm a month late reading this, but I'm so glad I didn't miss it!! This is going to help me fix the major problems with my manuscript. THANK YOU!!

maripaul60 said...

I am simply amazed with how easily you explained and gave examples of this. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this! I have just discovered this site today from a group I am in. Seekers was highly recommended and now I see why. I am very interested in the Scene Indexing but I couldn't find anything on it in the sidebar. I hope I haven't missed it.

I understand everyone has their own way of doing things when crafting their novels but I find this to be a tremendous help and I have written it all down in my notebook.