Week 1: Writing a Synopsis – ‘My Year of Living Creatively’ blog series

February 17, 2016

Week 3: The fine line between fact and fiction

February 17, 2016

Week 2: Developing a Crystal Clear Novel Plot

February 17, 2016
Writing a Synopsis | Stacey Trick
The Fine Line Between Fact and Fiction
Developing a clear novel plot

Two weeks into writing my novel, I had a realisation. I realised that if I’m going to really commit to writing a novel, I have to stop pressing the snooze button on my 5am alarm. Not only does it waste my writing time when the house is quiet and the kids are sleeping for at least another hour, it’s also the best time of the day to feel alive and creative . The snooze is dangerous. So, I turned the snooze option off. Once my alarm goes off, I have to get out of bed and do the work! I might even put my alarm out of arms reach for tomorrow morning so I don’t have a choice!

I’m into my second week of writing my novel and I have to say I probably have had one issue that I really struggled with. That was developing a really crystal clear plot. Last week I developed my rough synopsis. But, that was it, it was really rough. This is my first time writing a novel and I’m not going to pretend it’s easy.

Any challenges this week?

  • I kept snoozing my alarm… but not anymore. I have officially committed myself (not to an institution) to being a 5am creative kook and I’m sticking to it! I need to write this novel!
  • Plot clarity. Although I had a basic synopsis completed, it lacked something and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until, I had a flick through a book I bought about a year ago called No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty, the founder of NANOWRIMO. Oh my goodness! I gained more clarity for my story in 5 minutes than I have all week. Let me tell you how.

Week 2: Developing a Crystal Clear Novel Plot

Here’s a little exercise I want you to give a go. Answer this question.

What makes a good novel in your opinion? (list as many things as you like)

For example, my list looks like this.

  • Shock
  • Mystery
  • Historical elements
  • Settings that inspire strong feelings
  • An underlining theme like death, finding light in darkness, or the meaning of life
  • Unique, unusual, weird, wonderful, wacky, and highly memorable characters
  • Bitter-sweet tragic endings
  • Intelligent, entertaining, and creative tone
  • An exploration of ideas or concepts in fiction

Chances are that the elements you enjoy reading in a novel, will most likely be the ones that you would be naturally fantastic at writing.

The elements you enjoy reading in a #novel will most likely be the ones that you would be fantastic at #writing Click To TweetNot only would you stay interested in writing it, but the style and language you use while writing your novel will be far more enjoyable for the reader too.

If you won’t enjoy reading it, you won’t enjoy writing it! – Chris Baty.

This little exercise helped me gain clarity over my plot by making me consider all the elements I needed in my novel to make it work well. It helped me discover that I needed a bitter-sweet ending and that mystery and history would be non-negotiable elements in my writing.


Join in the Conversation!

Are you writing or plotting a novel? Perhaps you’re struggling and need a bit of help? Ask away. Share your questions and/or suggestions in the comments section below.


  1. I might go on this novel writing journey with you Stacey. Sounds like we’re two peas in a pod. I adore mystery books with historical elements. So thrilled I came across your site. Thanks for sharing your own writing journey with us. Often writing can feel quite lonely – Rhea

  2. Yes I’ve just started planning it. I’m working on the rough synopsis that you suggested to do in last week’s post. This is really great. Its like have an online writing group!

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