poetry and prose about place

writing a novel – plotting the change

with 6 comments


Title: unknown

Working Title: Saving the Landing Church

Setting: a writers’ retreat, including an abandoned church

Characters: main character Sadie, a writer; her husband Tom; people from the community

Plot: the story of how Sadie tries to win over a community in order to preserve an abandoned church


'Rose Window'


In writing and editing my novel, I have had to turn my attention to the plot, again and again.


Last November, when I started to write my novel, I learned quickly –  stories usually are built on the concept of change.

  • the main character wants something (a need)
  • The character sets about trying to fill the need and is thwarted at every turn
  • In the end, they either fill the need or they don’t


During the story, the main character must be altered in some way.



this is my main character, Sadie … how will she be changed during the novel? She does look like she could use a hair salon …


As my novel has progressed, I have realised that Sadie not only wants the church, she wants the church with the blessing of the community

How does Sadie change?  Her understanding of the community and her attitude towards the community changes.  She realises that ‘community’ is a necessary component of the church she wants so badly … without the community, the church is just a hollow building  …


To make certain my main character is changing and growing in the right direction, I’ve plotted out her understanding, her attitude and her progress with respect to the community …




This excerpt from my writing journal will make no sense to you, but it shows that I write to make the novel and the characters progress towards an end.  If I encounter something in the plot (or the subplots) that does not fit, I look at it again and rewrite or reorder events …


If you write short or long fiction, how do you make sure the plot is always moving in the direction you intend?


Copyright 2013   Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

October 23, 2013 at 7:00 am

6 Responses

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  1. My dear Jane,,,,I think I will “stick” to my daily journalling. Writing a novel sounds far too hard for me ,,very complicated. I am glad that you are so good at sooo many things,,,I now will have a novel from you to look forward to. Thanks.!



    October 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    • Hi Patsi. Thanks for your vote of confidence. I am probably making this more complicated than it needs to be. All I know is that I can hardly wait to see this published. Getting published makes editing the second hardest work! Jane


      jane tims

      October 24, 2013 at 9:56 pm

  2. I’m glad to hear about your progress. It sounds as though your main character not only wants the church, with the blessing of the community, she also wants to be accepted by and become part of the community. She has a need that perhaps she didn’t even see, as obvious as it may be to others! Keep at it!!!!



    October 23, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    • Hi. Thanks for the insightful comment. I learn about my characters as I go. It’s like another side of being a reader! Jane


      jane tims

      October 24, 2013 at 9:54 pm

  3. Thanks Jane, this blog post is helpful. I learned that there is so much more to writing a successful novel than I had realized. It’s not writing but the re-writing which is the more important part. Your method of tracking changes is enlightening.


    Carol Steel

    October 23, 2013 at 7:21 am

    • Hi Carol. Thanks! I agree with you – getting the words down in the first place is important but it is what you do with them afterward that seems the bulk of the work. Have you ever thought of writing a novel? Jane


      jane tims

      October 23, 2013 at 11:05 am

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