When I first wrote The Claiming Words, I was clueless. Maybe I still am, but that’s a different issue. I liked the story and loved my characters, but something was missing. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but whatever it was woke me up at night. It nagged at the edge of my consciousness, nibbled at my waking thoughts, and drove me crazy. I eventually gave up on the book because that elusive missing piece of the puzzle seemed determined to stay missing.
But I couldn’t give up. I couldn’t let go. Rewrite followed revision, and I honed each sentence until every comma was in its place, every adverb vanquished, every wayward apostrophe tamed. But, still something was missing, so I gave up yet again.
Three books later, I finally discovered what it was that had been missing all along….THE PLOT. That’s right! My book had no plot. It had complete sentences, properly spelled words—it even had a story. But, no plot.
If a book has a story, isn’t that the same as a plot? No.
Any little tidbit can be a story. A story is just a telling of events. Plot is different. A plot is the purpose of your story. It’s the reason for telling the story. A story has a beginning and an end. The plot is the journey from beginning to end, and everything in between.
Basically, the first ten or eleven versions of my manuscript told a story. When I asked myself, “What is the purpose of my book?” I discovered I couldn’t answer that question. There has to be a reason for the story: character growth, a goal being met, a quest being achieved…something. The plot is the Why of the story.
I’m happy to say that my book now has a plot. All my books have plots. And, the overall series has an overall plot. I enjoy writing without an outline; I wouldn’t have it any other way. But, there has to be a vision for the book (or series) as a whole. There has to be a goal. A book must have a plot because if it doesn’t…something is missing.