I love having Stephen Zimmer as a guest blogger on my site. Today, it’s all fantasy and it’s WONDERFUL!!!! It’s been some years since Mr. Zimmer has been on Writer Groupie, and we are thrilled to have him back.
The Plotting of a New Story: Insights On My Process
When I have an idea for a new story and begin to prepare for the writing phase, I have an approach to the plotting side of things that I have found works very well for me, especially with the process that I have honed and developed over the years.
Most of my work tends to fall into various series or themed collections. In regard to a series, I have to bear in mind two key things: the new book’s place and role in the larger series, and the title in and of itself. The book needs its own arc and destination, while also serving a key function within the greater arc spanning the entirety of the series.
Once I have identified my goals in both of those main areas, I envision a basic direction and outline for the main plot elements and key character threads. I do not make this outline overly detailed. A general course is all I need to establish, from where I begin, to the primary conflict points in that book, to some key scene ideas, and to where things end up when all is said and done (which includes what needs to be set in place for the beginning of the next installment).
I choose to leave the outline fairly basic, in order to leave room for new ideas, characters, and plot/sub-plot elements that inevitably crop up during the writing process. Sometimes, the existing characters will guide you to these things, and at other times, the new elements will come from different sources.
One common source is the research needed for an individual volume. In creating the basic outline, I identify subject areas that I am going to need to do research on to get a grounding for the writing phase. In researching a topic, I have often found inspiration and ideas for new elements to introduce to deepen the plot or advance a character.
The creation of a basic outline also gives me a sense of the pacing and plot development without constricting me too much. If I identify an area where the reader has been on a full-throttle pace a little too long, I can put in a thread or scene that gives a breather in the pacing, to help improve the dynamics of a story.
Changes in pace, or dynamics, can help improve the impact of the storytelling significantly, as opposed to keeping things stuck at a singular pacing. A slower moment followed by a burst of action will have more of a “punch” to it, in the way that a loud and powerful segment of music does when following a slow, more gentle sequence.
Further, the basic outline helps give some structure and direction to those new, emerging threads, characters, and plot/subplot elements that I mentioned earlier. It prevents the story from becoming chaotic and falling astray from the book’s goals, both in terms of the series and in itself.
On the “plotter versus pantser” spectrum, I would put myself closer to the center, with a slight tilt to the plotter side. I love the process and the surprises that it delivers, so I don’t box myself in. But I do need guideposts and a sense of direction, to make sure I don’t veer too far off course or find myself written into a corner, where the ending is going to be unsatisfactory to a reader after a great build-up and early development.
It is my firm view that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach, and every writer has to find their way to what works best for them. Some writers may thrive with extensive outlining, and others may find their best approach lies in having even less of an advance outline than I use. This is the approach that I find works best for me, along with the reasons why it works well in my process, and I wish you the best in the development of your own process and plotting approach!
This blog tour spotlights the latest Rayden Valkyrie Tale, Darkness Enthroned, and the latest Ragnar Stormbringer Tale, The Awakening! Readers of fantasy, heroic fantasy, sword and sorcery, dark fantasy, and action-driven tales will love these adventures featuring two iconic protagonists!
About the author: Stephen Zimmer
Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie Tales (Sword and Sorcery), The Ragnar Stormbringer Tales (Sword and Sorcery) the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk), and the Faraway Saga (YA Dystopian/Cross-Genre).
Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.
Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.
Good day friends! I am providing another tarot for writers video. It is getting so warm and nice outside, that I am finding it difficult to stay inside and shoot! So, in the beginning of this video I included a bit of my daily walk and so you can see and enjoy spring in Florida.
But I digress…
This week’s video is all about someone who has become discouraged and embittered because life is not going like they want for it to. I almost felt as though I read for someone in the viewership, it was a very strong reading.
But if you have a romance novel or story you are working on, this may be an important video for you to check out. Someone is going down the tubes and someone is coming to save them 🙂 — I loved how the cards laid out and how the story went from conflictual to a happy ever after ending.
And at the very end of the video, I include my sweet book cover for In the Holler coming out April 15. I would love it if you would go to Amazon and get it as it is out there available for preorder RIGHT NOW! And it is also a ROMANCE but it has some pretty cool women’s fiction elements. I call it ROMWOM. I hope you enjoy it!
If you like this video, please thumbs up and subscribe.
Finding a genre. Welcome to another episode of my podcast. Today I want to help older writers to understand that every writer has multiple books or literary works inside of them, they just have to find a genre. Here’s why I say that…
Hi, I’m Kim and I am the author of published works, and in today’s episode I want to help you understand that every writer has multiple books or literary works inside of them. The one that will allow you to get readers, true fans, followers, sales, all of it—is the one you are most passionate about.
Easy way to find a genre
People don’t know what to write when they are first starting out. The truth is you can publish a number of books, non-fiction, fiction, how-to-I’m-a-guru, lots of different options to try- but one of those books would sell much faster if you knew the formula.
I’m talking about the formula to success for older writers, over-fifty writers, who are just getting started in the process of finding a genre.
Hey everybody, this video was shot at the end of February and into the first week of March. I show how I set up and take down my kanban board each month. I also go through some planning and journaling steps.
Do you like Facebook Live? Do you think I should do a few? Leave me a comment down below!
Today, let’s chat about book sales and the lack of results…the sales you’re NOT getting.
So, say you wanted to excel as a writer in any genre, but you didn’t know how. Could you do it?
In this video, we’re going to talk about how some writers struggle with finding their sweet spot.
You know what? When you just get started as an author, when you launch your very first book–when you first begin on the publishing journey–it’s exciting and fun and just the thought of readers enjoying your book and going to book events and signing your books for adoring fans, and oh yeah, ALL THAT MONEY you make on doing something you really love to do, it is FANTASTIC!
And certainly, if I can do it, you can do it.
But just because I can and have (13 books so far)-doesn’t mean you can repeat and rinse and come out with the same book sales.
So, to find out more about my thoughts on this subject and also see some fun video of a day at the farmer’s market near my home, check out the YouTube channel video above. If you like it, please consider subscribing.