Organic Plotting

Posted on Posted in Romantic Fiction Craft, Starting a New Story


The light revisions are done, the book is with my editor and I am desperate to get working on the last book of 2010 before Xmas hits big time.

This is my process – at the moment. NOT rocket science. I have learnt over the past 18 months that I have to put the time in to create the discovery draft before I can focus on the deep character work  – and that takes time.


*PRE-WRITING. snatches of dialogue, notes, character profiles, +ideas

*DRAFTING. expanding those notes into a discovery draft

*REVISING. sculpting a powerful story out of your draft. adding layers. THIS is where I find out the deep character journey.

*EDITING. format and polish the *PRESENTATION. * SUBMIT


Starting a new story is the best fun – and the most challenging. Expectations are so high, the scope endless and the characters are all there waiting for you to find them. And for me, it is working on the characters that is the most interesting part of the whole process of pre-writing.

Yes I know the setting and the basic story idea. Yes I am writing series romance which means that I know what the ending will be – and so does my reader.

All of which puts extra pressure on the author to create two compelling characters who are going to go on a journey together to find love- and it had better be against the odds because I want the story to be about risk, and danger and conflict of all levels.

These books MUST be character driven  to make them work, so the story has to reflect this on so many levels, even at the story development stage.

Some people call working this Organic Plotting – and I often come back to a series of articles posted by Jodi Henley on the topic. Basically the idea equates to writing from the character out, as opposed to writing from the plot and building characters to fit.

There are loads of books on story craft which cover this topic and tons of blog posts etc and I always find it useful to reread this as a way to create lateral thinking where ideas spin off – call them focus points if you like.

Oh – you don’t have a huge folder of print outs of craft articles? Um. Must just be me then, but each to his own.

Either way-   a great way to get started on the Pre-Writing.

I know that I will not be able to complete the final character work until I have a working basic discovery draft [which is for my eyes only], so time to get busy. Especially when lying on the sofa in the warm after a weekend of digging out the foundations for my new summer house and hacking away at the forest which is my garden. Happy days.

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