Writing Books/plot


Hello Cathy, I have been working on a novel for a long time. The thing is I cannot come up with a plot. I'm not sure if its considered romance or just "fiction" There are two pov. mc 1 is the woman. She doesn't have a lot of goals, she is just always in a bunch if drama because of her boyfriend that she loves so much. Mc 2 is the boyfriend. we see how he feels and deals with things including the drama. he two loves her but is is going through a whole different set of problems. I really want both characters to be loved but I dont know how. but as you can see I dont have a plot what so ever. any techniques to figuring out a plot and make lovable characters. sorry for the grammer errors. Thanks for reading and you time.

Hi, Simona!

You actually have the beginnings of a pretty good plot. What you need to do to flesh it out is to give either your hero or heroine a goal. The boyfriend is going through a bunch of drama. Great! That makes for good book fodder. But what does the drama STOP him from doing? Does he want to go to college and can't because he's always in trouble? Does he want to marry the heroine, but her family would never permit it because of his past? Give him a turning point. He has to change or everything he values will disappear and he'll be alone and in jail.

For the heroine's part, isn't she tired of the drama? Doesn't she get exhausted having to lie to friends about her boyfriend, pawn her treasures to get bail money? Doesn't it get old? She can be the turning point if you choose. Maybe she gives him an ultimatum: Clean up your act or we're through. Or maybe someone drama-free starts to flirt and she imagines what it would be like to have the white picket fence and a happy, stress-free life. Maybe she decides to give drama-free a try and starts cheating on her boyfriend (or at least thinkis about it.)

That's a perfectly acceptable plot for a contemporary romance, because it's all about the romance. :)

Loveable characters tend to come from a place of good. Is the boyfriend in trouble constantly because he's protecting someone? Is it a brother or parent who is actually bad and he's taking the fall (and later decides he has to let them fall to help them heal?) Does he steal to get money to raise money to help his sick mom and doesn't want his "tough" friends to know he's a "mama's boy?"

See, there are a lot of options once you do some "what if" exercises. Add a twist to their lives. A plot is nothing more than the crisis that interrupts the lives of the characters.  Solving the crisis either brings the people together or tears them apart. The crisis could be external (a hurricane destroys the town, or someone kidnaps/kills a member of the family) or internal (the characters can't stand their lives anymore and want to change.)

Throw something unexpected at the characters. How would they deal with a hurricane? How about a young relative going missing? Would they cling to each other or become desperate to get away from the drama to focus on flixing the problem? It's all up to you. :)

Does that help? Good luck!


Writing Books

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.