How I Plan a Novel by Lesley Field
I am thrilled to welcome bestselling romantic novelist, Lesley Field back to the blog today to share her experience of how to plan a novel. Thank you for your time today, Lesley: now over to you!
I honestly don’t think there is a proper way to plan a novel. The easy way is having two characters who will meet and fall in love. so you start with where and how they met. Sadly, it very rarely works like that. I’ve had the ending of a novel come to me and then I’ve had to work backwards with the plot. Or, a scene comes to me from the middle, so I’ve had to work it all out from there. That’s fun. Obviously, it’s preferable to write from the beginning with a laid-out plot, but the novel needs to flow and keep moving to maintain the reader’s interest.
Ideas can come from something you may have read in another book. I’m not talking about plagiarism, I’m meaning a secondary character or something a character did, which makes you think you could create a novel from that one thing. I read a book where the female had a child out of wedlock. That made me wonder, what if that happened to a lady in the regency period but she was able to pass the child off as belonging to her new husband? Someone she was forced to marry. So I wrote, “Dangerous Deception.” That contained the most hard-hitting scenes of a sexual nature, which were totally out of my comfort zone. When I’d finished typing, I was shaking so much I had to walk away from the laptop. So, writing a novel can take you away from your usual style.
I have a folder for, “plot lines.” Each file in that folder has the outline for a new novel. Sometimes, it’s a few paragraphs from the beginning, sometimes it can be a few thousand words. Those plot lines have come to me at various times, but because of the work I had in progress, they had to be set to one side, ready to be taken up later.
When I first began writing, I had a single notebook in which I haphazardly wrote down information about the plot and the characters. That wasn’t ideal or organized. Now every novel has its own notebook. There are separate pages for information relative to each character, age, hair colour, height, the colour of their eyes, and build. Details of family, friends and the houses in which they live. Keeping a record is essential. I don’t over-describe. I want the reader to build their own picture in their mind. Nobody views a character the same way.
The most important thing, especially when writing historical novels, is research. The internet is wonderful and I have a folder containing information regarding, types of carriages, pistols, ladies and gentlemen’s clothing, and places they would visit.
Sometimes, you finish a novel and think that’s the end, then realise it wasn’t. My contemporary novel “Saunders-Lies and Deception,” which is set in Canada, was intended to be a stand-alone novel, but the plot line for a second book came to me, and then a third. So there is no set rule as to planning or ending a novel. The ideas come to you at any time or anywhere.
Being an indie writer now, I need to consider the book cover and what I want on it. I have a plan with a company that sells photos so am able to download models. Fortunately, my husband is very good at Photoshop and designs the covers. Apart from covers, there is the blurb to consider. How much to reveal on the back cover? Sounds easy, but it’s not.
So, planning a novel isn’t straightforward. It’s a bit like riding a bike, if you’re not careful you’ll fall off and get something wrong. Every author has their own way of planning. I like to think I’m sort of organized, but I’m not perfect. But then who is?
Lesley Field was born and grew up on Teesside, in the North East of England She enjoyed riding and reading and later spent most of her working life pursuing personal injury claims on behalf of claimants. When retirement came she kicked off the restraints of the law and discovered her real self. What she discovered or re-discovered was writing something she’d dabbled in when she was in her teens. Although writing contemporary fiction set in Canada, she also writes historical fiction, set in London in and around the Regency period. Using her love of Canada and her enjoyment of horses she brings both to her books.
Lesley is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association coming in through their New Writers Scheme. Having now progressed to full membership she is also a member of ROMNA and a member of Promoting Yorkshire Authors.
Happily living on the North Yorkshire coast with her husband she spends her days enjoying life, and writing.
Website – https://lesleyfield.com
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Author Page Lesley Field @lesleyfield2author
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Twitter - Lesley Field @lesleyfield2
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