WRITE:TALK is a blog series about the craft of Christian writing.
Click here to see other posts in this series.
Let's talk about my writing process. My hope is that by looking at my process, you will find the system that works for you. By the way, I want to make it clear that I am no expert. But I can share what I have learned by listening to authors that speak about their processes. In a previous post, I listed my steps in the process, which included OUTLINE.
The outline is extremely important. To begin, I generate a page titled Study Notes and Outline. It has the Title, Intended Readers Category, Date, Logline, Goals, Theme, and Image Systems listed first before I start a tight outline. Here's what I did on the third, upcoming book in the Huber series: Beyond the Huber Skies:
BEYOND THE HUBER SKIES
Youth Adventure Novel
November 7, 2021
A golden fleece Story: A hero goes on the road to find someone and discovers himself.
1. Finding Father and getting home
2. Showing the value of learning about others
3. Picture God’s work in the lives of others
4. Demonstrate that God’s Grace is Free
The Free Grace of God through belief in Jesus for Eternal Life
Internal growth from each obstacle he encounters
Persistence pays off
A team helps reach goals
A. Flying Zeppelins
C. Goat scalers
D. Brugian Raider
B. World Wall Cliff Dwellings
C. Stepped Temples of Brugia
D. Dyke Tombs of Wethlyn
3. Acts of Nature
C. Glacier melt
D. Shrinking Landmass
A. In A.D. 986 - 20 ships were lost in the storm, Captain Kavik finds land
B. Tide Rider and 4 other ships spent winter/cold
C. 5 ships/5 clans: Wethlyns, Zebyns, Kylvers, Frigans, and Brugians
D. Went below and found lands of their own.
E. Wethlyns/Zebyns split the big island
F. Kylvers have a small island to the west
G. Frigans scattered, believed the home was elsewhere, and refused to claim only one land
H. Brugians to the south on the World Wall/land, as a defense. Reputation as thieves.
WHAT DO THEY WANT?
Josh Hubbard - Find his father, rescue Chern, and get home
Chern - to escape the Brugians, be with Josh
Yan - Get his ship back
Larz - his own flying ship
When I set goals, I want the character to achieve something. MC Josh Hubbard is looking for his father who fell into a crevasse in Iceland. For two books, he can't find him. In the third book, he needs to find him. Therefore, I will end this trilogy with the accomplishment of that goal. With God's help, he learns from others and shows the overriding theme of all of my writing which is the Free Grace of God.
The theme you create for your story shows a repeating lesson of some kind. Example: Josh is self-centered and needs to work with others. So my theme for him is to learn that a team helps reach goals. Set up a theme or two for every story you write. This can be thought of as what you want to teach in your work. If you hate bullies and think that all of them should be stopped then a theme of justice for those who are bullied could work as a theme.
These are divided into: Vehicles, Dwellings, Acts of Nature, and History (background images like maps or prologue ships at sea in 922 A.D.). But you can use whatever names and snapshots helps you do worldbuilding. Think of these as pictures of what is interesting in your story. Avatar had the world tree, robots, blue people, etc. Does your story have man against nature? if so this is the place to explore ideas on that subject. In the story of Noah, there's going to be a flood and a boat. What does that look like?
WHAT DO THEY WANT?
This is important. You must find wants because they drive the story. If your character wants to be left alone to run his junk shop, you've got a problem. That can be solved by an inciting incident of an angel that shows up to teach him a lesson, but it's easier if MC (like Luke Skywalker) wants to leave and become a soldier in the Emperor's Army. Of course, wants and needs are two different things, aren't they?
More next time on the outline. If you want to look at Across the Huber Sea, or Below the Huber Ice, click here.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.(Proverbs 27:17)