Plot Development | Official Author Website of Melissa McPhail

Posts Tagged ‘plot development’

A Pattern of Shadow and Light Book Five Update

It’s been a while since I’ve updated everyone, and I’m fielding a ton of questions, so I think an update is probably due. Here’s what I can tell you: book five is in the works. I’m about 270 pages in and I’ve written Ean and Tanis’s threads up to the end of part one, along. . . Read More


How I Create Characters

Many of you have been asking about my process for creating characters—how I came up with certain characters, and more generally, how I make my characters seem real. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may have read one of my earlier posts on organic writing. For those of you who are. . . Read More


Pantser or Plotter: 4 Steps to Writing Organically (and the Science Behind Why You Should) – Part 1

After my last blog post on the four things you must know before starting a novel, in which I suggested not inventing a character, kingdom or creature until the story calls for it, a number of readers wrote in to ask, should nothing be planned? My answer is absolutely plan the four points on the list I gave. . . Read More


How to Avoid Cliches (or The 4 Things You MUST Know Before Starting A Novel)

A reader recently wrote to me and asked, how do you write a novel when every time you start (oh, so many times!) you get a few chapters in and suddenly become deluged with doubts? And how, when you’re so well-read in the genre that you’ve read it all and seen it all a hundred. . . Read More


How Not to Write Yourself into a Corner (in Your Novel and in Life)

There’s something known as writing yourself into a corner. This phrase might be used to describe any number of authorial ailments, from the scene that mystifyingly “doesn’t work,” to the sinking realization—many chapters in—that your entire plot resolution hinges on something your protagonist can’t possibly know about. While trying to finish my third novel, Paths. . . Read More


Breaking Up With Your Novel

Last week I finished penning the third book in my epic fantasy series and sent it off to beta readers. Paths of Alir was two years in the planning/writing, and the final clocked in around 300,000 words. (It is an epic fantasy. Providing a series is well-crafted, anything short of 250k and epic fantasy fans somewhat. . . Read More


Building A Fantasy World – The Magic of Genre Fiction

  Many thanks to The Cover by Brittany for originally hosting this post on her blog.    Some fantasy authors cringe at the topic of world-building, but actually, it’s one of the most thrilling aspects of writing genre fiction. When we write fantasy, we become the Maker of Worlds. We establish our world’s limitations, its physical barriers,. . . Read More


Exploring Tropes – The Ultimate Evil Dark Lord

The word trope is defined in most dictionaries as “a word or expression used in a figurative sense,” but trope has become reinterpreted in today’s vernacular to refer to an often overused plot device.   The conflict inherent in tropes as they apply to genre literature is that many of these selfsame conventions are the. . . Read More


Exploring Time

Do you ever feel caught out of time?  I had a day recently where I felt I’d skipped out of the time stream followed by the rest of the world.  Like the needle on a record player suddenly dislodged backwards, I wound up running eleven minutes behind everyone else.  I felt constantly as if I. . . Read More


The Lie

I was reading an article recently by Sherrinda Ketchersid on The Writers Alley Blog, where she introduces the concept of The Lie. Sherrinda wrote: “Character development hinges on The Lie. You see, your hero needs to overcome something in his life. There needs to be some lie he believes that taints every part of his belief system, every action, and. . . Read More