Organizing your story can be rather daunting if you’re new to it. Not knowing the various ways in which one can go about doing this will bring on this feeling. To feel confident about story organization, learn some tricks that other authors do, then choose one or two methods that suits your style.
What I do
I start by moving from general to specific. I do quite a bit of thinking and brainstorming by rolling around various what if scenarios in my head and write down a list as I go. Many of my ideas come from real life events from my past. When I started writing the Triunix of Time, I began with a story about a relationship. It was supposed to be about a man and a woman who started out as friends and ended up falling in love. A simple plot. Right? Ha!!! At first yes. Where it ended up years later wasn’t where I started from. There is some romance in there, yes. But, it was secondary to the main story, which was something else entirely. That’s the nature of writing a book. It’s going to change as you write it.
Once I pick a scenario I’m happy with, I come up with a one line premise. This one line will sum up what your whole story is about, yet it will do this in general terms. See the example below:
- Tora is a headstrong, career driven woman who sets out to find the truth about her parents and discovers a family secret that goes back to the Magi.
The above example is the one line premise for my novel The Triunix of Time. Once I had this down (It didn’t start out perfect. I had to rework it a few times, and so will you with yours), I expanded it to include four more sentences. So now you are moving toward being a little more specific. Once you get your one five sentence paragraph that sums up your story, take each of those five sentences and turn each of them into a paragraph so you end up with a five paragraph synopsis of what your story is about. Keep expanding on this summary until you have a long synopsis (this length is up to you). This method will take some thought. You will end up changing things around along the way until you’re happy with it. That’s just how it goes. Have fun with it. Believe it or not, when you finish writing your novel, you will condense this long synopsis until you are able to use it on the back of your book when you publish it. Below is an example of the five sentence summary that expands from the one sentence premise above:
- Tora arrives home after a long drive from Norfolk, Virginia. Soon, she discovers a journey she must take. At the onset of this journey she comes to the knowledge that there are secrets regarding herself and her family. Add to that, she, along with Kyle and John, must defeat the Black Mamba. But, this will not be easy. Tora is the Triunifier, so without her this mission cannot be accomplished. She gets her strength from Kyle and John. Soon they are racing against the clock and must obtain possession of the pieces of the Triunix. They accomplish this, but the Black Mamba tricks them and Tora (now Nadira) merges with him.
Notice that mine is a little more than five sentences. That’s okay. You get the point. This summary paragraph and every summary/synopsis you write must move your story progressively from the beginning of the story to the end.