Author Toolbox 1: My Top New Manuscript Planning Resource #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!


Looking for that perfect resource book with both exercise application and examples of successful work?

90 Days to Your Novel, A Day-by-Day Plan for Outlining & Writing Your Book, by Sarah Domet is my favorite thing these days. I’m currently Day 6 into the writing exercises. I’ve already defined 10 characters, four of them pivotal, threaded in background scenes, favorite places and personality quirks to include as I write. I can honestly admit though, I won’t make the 90-day mark. My timeline is a little longer. Sometimes I use one exercise to span two to three days.

Favorite Points on Scene Development

“Scenes are modules, a single unit of your novel … a reader should have learned something about the characters involved or about the unraveling plot,” (page 36, Domet).

  • Write for the reader and not the writer. As a writer, I love to get lost in detail and scenery. But a reader wants to know the who and the what, and not just the wow.
  • Include the main character as early as possible in any scene. Domet suggests as early as paragraph two and no later than paragraph three.
  • The middle of any scene should be heavy with conflict pushing against the main character’s nearest and dearest wish.
  • The end of a scene should show the reader a new character insight, a metaphor, or leave a question that makes it impossible to not turn the page and want more.

Points on Character

  • Need some writing prompts to get into your main character’s head and body, and all of the minor ones too? I LOVE the Biography worksheets in this book.
  • The “I Care Factor” is the connection to aim for which moves your reader through the book.
  • Emotion is conveyed in many different ways, and it’s different for each character both in public and private settings.
  • Write for the senses and express what they feel through word choice and physical characteristics.

A thought to ponder: Think of a moment in your life when you and someone else experienced the same emotional event. How did you handle it in public vs. private? How did they handle it? Would you blush? Would they? Would you tremble? Would you burst out in a slew of regrettable words? Maybe this someone you knew stormed off.  The worksheets in this book helped me figure out these reactions in all of my characters. I wrote three short scenes; first, one character who experienced intense emotion in a comfortable location; next, I wrote the same character freaking out in a public place; and finally,  I wrote a combined scene with two of more of my main characters. The best part is how everything I wrote can be used down the road in the book.

I hope my thoughts today helped. Heard of the book? Got a favorite tool you use to flush out a new manuscript? I’d love to hear it.

About Erika Beebe

Author, dreamer, and a momma to a couple of wonderful kids, I try to live life everyday in hope and inspire others along my way.

Posted on April 19, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 35 Comments.

  1. Sounds like a great book. Thanks for sharing and for including your thoughts. A really useful post. Have a lovely week.

  2. Thanks for summarizing the salient points. A novel in 90 days is ambitious! But then again, I never can fathom how people write novels in a month as well. I wish I had half that kind of diligence.

  3. This sounds like a great resource! I’ll have to check it out. I like the idea of having specific tasks broken down day by day. I don’t read very many books on writing, but I should start looking. 🙂

    Thanks for this post!

    • Hi Caroliena. This resource turned my writing around. I used it to do a revision on a completed MS. There were so many details I hadn’t considered because I didn’t know. Now that I have a fresh story idea in front of me, the process is going so much faster! I think when you begin a new world for me anyway, I wondered where do you start. Yes, the day by day planning has helped me focus. Thank you for stopping in today. 🙂

  4. Sounds like a great book! I’ll definitely look into using it 🙂

  5. Great post, Erika. I like the tips, and the structure of Domet’s book is intriguing as that is about where I am on the next book – day 1. Ha ha. Happy Writing!

  6. Thanks for sharing! I’m not a huge resource-writing book person, but I have tried this one and I enjoyed it’s exercises! 😀

  7. I will definitely need to check this resource out. I’m a natural planner so I would love to see if there are any gaps I left behind. Thanks for the great breakdown.

  8. The whole idea that scenes need to do double-duty is crucial. As writers we need to do a lot of balancing – between setting, character, plot, theme, etc. Every scene needs to serve at least two of those purposes… set a scene AND tell us about someone, progress the plot AND highlight the theme, etc. Otherwise the scenes can drag!

  9. The book sounds fabulous. Though honestly, I think the POV character should be mentioned in the first sentence of any new chapter. You want readers oriented as soon as they step onto the scene. Okay, okay, there are occasions where that doesn’t work out, but I had to put in my two cents.

  10. Great tips! I like to show character through action and subtext. Not every emotion has to be blatant.

  11. Glad to hear your perspective on the 90 day book — I have a copy on my own bookshelf and may dust it off given your experience — LOVE that you give yourself license to take as long as you need to get an exercise completed — and that you’ve made such headway with your story — keep us posted!

    • Thank you Louise! I am so excited to know you have it too. I feel best when I can really take the time I need to think and mull over the questions. Often times in the past I rushed and then I missed something important. I don’t want to miss anything in the hope I may use it later down the road. Thank you for stopping in today 🙂

  12. I think it’s great that you’re doing the 90 day outline. It doesn’t matter if you follow it exactly. I’m sure just doing the process will help. I did Nanowrimo last year and was amazed that I wrote 50,000 words in a month. I don’t think I would have if I wasn’t feeling motivated because of the process. I guess any process that gets you writing is good.

    • I agree Kristina. All we can do is set a goal to do our best everyday. My kids are still young yet and I do get a great deal done in the two hours I rise to write before they wake up. You are brave for doing the Nanowrimo. Have a great rest of your day 🙂

  13. I’ve heard of this book, and wondered if it would be helpful to me in my midway-through WIPs. What you’ve shared here suggests the answer to that question is “yes”.


  14. Sounds like a great resource! I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  15. Ah! I’m about 15 or so chapters into this book! I can’t remember; it’s one of so many craft books I’m part way through. I picked it up at the Writer’s Digest Conference last year. I love the idea of a novel in 90 days, but I’m not sure it’s feasible while reading the book. For me, plotting takes a month, and then writing, well I suppose two months is feasible, but while reading the book? Reading your post makes me want to pick the book up again. Thank you for the refresher and for sharing in the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. I’m going to share this myself, on Pinterest and schedule a Facebook post for a few weeks down the line. Yea!

  16. Great tips for scene writing, I try to make sure each scene either moves the story along or reveals something new and interesting about a character or the fictional world (I write fantasy). This workbook sounds like a brilliant resource for improving your writing 🙂

  17. Its interesting… I need to write about the same situation seen from different perspectives… Seems like an awesome exercise 😊

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