Have you ever had a book idea you wanted to write, but you didn't know where to begin? You had a basic plot outline somewhere in your head, but things just don't seem to come together. I've had periods like that, but there's a way to solve the problem. The solution is piecing your book together.
I can't speak for everyone, but when I have a book idea I usually have most of the major events of a plot locked somewhere in my mind. I write down each plot event in the order that I believe they should appear in the book. An example might be:
Boy meets Girl.
Girl meets other Boy.
Boy shoots other Boy in kneecap.
Boy goes to prison.
Boy gets out of prison and saves the world.
Girl falls in love with Boy.
Boy marries other Girl. (That'll teach her for not writing Boy in prison.)
Okay, the plot stinks, but it's only an example.
Piecing allows the writer to write a short story about each major plot event. When the writer gets all his short stories done he will then be required to connect point A with point B, point B to point C, and so forth.
Before I put the pieces together I check the characters in each piece and insure that they are believable (consistent) for each section. If they are not consistent I need to work on character development. I may need to add or delete a character to make the jump from one section to another.
Does each section supply tension on its own? Is it needed to further the plot? I have found if my short story doesn't work within the plot I may have to delete it. (But I still have a short story to market.) Sometimes I discover the section needs some tweaking to be believable or interesting.
Tension should be involved in every segment. If tension isn't present in the segment then maybe the section is unnecessary. (Nobody said this was easy.)
Piecing helps me discover subplots within plots that make the work more interesting. I discover different options for piecing the segments together.
I found that instead of being restrictive piecing opens a whole new set of possibilities for plot twists, turns, and reversals. It lets me see the whole work while I work on each segment.
Lastly and most importantly, I don't become overwhelmed by the project. I can take one slice at a time and savor it.
Copyright 2010 J-me
Award winning author, Mark Brown, who writes under the pen-name, J-me, invites you to receive your free subscription to the Mason Bricklin Newsletter. Each family friendly monthly issue features a humorous short story, and articles about family, writing, internet marketing, and the amazing creation. Or visit his humorous books and stories site which features his award winning humorous book, Mason Bricklin: http://www.masonbricklin.net/.