So happy to have Tamera Lynn Kraft back as a guest blogger. This time we are discussing how to plot. When writing. Not when you want to take over a country. Welcome back, Tamera!
Which comes first when creating a story – character, setting, or plot?
Actually, none of them come first. My stories come to me when I read about events in history and wonder what it would have been like for the people living through them. Out of that comes the setting in history, the character living through that time, and what the character went through (plot) almost simultaneously.
Since your write historical fiction, how does history affect your plots?
The history doesn’t affect my plot. It basically is my plot. I’m not the kind of historical author whose stories can be set at any time in the past by changing the costumes and the way they cook. I pretty much immerse myself in the history before I even start writing.
How do you troubleshoot your plot or subplots?
Before I write the story or after? While I’m writing a story, if I can’t figure out what comes next, I consider two questions. What would naturally come next? How can I surprise my reader by blowing that up and still staying believable? After I’ve written my story, if I find there are plot holes I don’t know how to fix, I use Super Structure by James Scott Bell and Troubleshooting Your Novel by Steven James as go to textbooks.
What’s been the most unusual source of inspiration for a plot?
I think my most unusual source would be for the first novel I wrote. It’s not yet published but is coming out in October, 2019. It’s called FORKS IN THE ROAD and is a Young Adult Western about two boys who survive Quantrill’s Raid, end up on their own, and make the wrong choice at every fork in the road until they grow up to become outlaws. It’s a story of redemption. I got the idea from a western in the early 1970s called Alias Smith and Jones.
I’d say it’s unusual because every other novel I’ve written has come from researching history.
I remember that show. You never know what will inspire you.
What advice do you have for writers who want to develop their plotting skills?
My advice is to first learn plot like the back of your hand. James Scott Bell’s Super Structure is a perfect writing book for that. Then when you are reading novels or watching movies, try to identify those plot points. After you know plotting so well you could recite it, read Story Trumps Structure by Steven James and throw everything you’ve learned out the window. That’s what I did. It doesn’t make sense, but if you know structure well, you can write a good story without worrying about it and know the pieces will fall into place.
It sounds like you need to know the rules to know when you can break or bend them. Thanks so much for stopping by!
Lost in the Storm: Ladies of Oberlin Book 2
By Tamera Lynn Kraft
Will war bring them love or will they be Lost in the Storm?
Lavena, a journalist during the Civil War, wants to become a war correspondent. She finally gets her chance, but there’s a catch. She has to get an interview from a war hero who has refused to tell his story to every other journalist, and she has to accomplish this impossible task in a month or she’ll lose her job.
Captain Cage, the war hero, has a secret that will destroy his military career and reputation. Now, a new journalist is trying to get him to tell what he’s been hiding. He wants to ignore her, but from the moment she came into camp, he can’t get her out of his mind.
Leading up to the turbulent Battles for the city of Chattanooga, will Lavena and Cage find the courage to love and forgive, or will they be swept away by their past mistakes that don’t want to stay buried?
Meet the Ladies of Oberlin, the causes they’re willing to fight for, and the men who capture their hearts.
Tamera been married for 40 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and three grandchildren. She has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire for Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist and has written children’s church curriculum. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.
You can contact Tamera online at www.tameralynnkraft.net.