Finish Your Book. Write for Big Moments #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #WriteTip

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Thank you Raimey!


It’s funny how as a kid you think you have all the time in the world. Each day spans forever, and when the sun dies and the moon is born, I hardly remember lying my head on that pillow, closing my eyes and starting all over the next day with a new sun.

In writing as a kid, I’d let my mind run away with my fingers. I’d write until I didn’t know where to go and I’d stop. Maybe it was dinner time. Maybe I’d lost the daylight. Maybe I had a tree to climb and a wind to catch in that tree. I did hardly ever finish a book though, well, at least not a lengthy one.

Now, I know why.

As a middle-aged adult, I realize I can’t just sit and write without a plan. Planning has become everything, especially in regards to writing, no matter how unfun it sounds.

Today, I’m thinking about planning Big Moments in any working story before the creative writing part takes hold of you, your fingers fly, and you write all those wonderful scenes and chapters. My resource today comes from my second favorite writing book, “Outlining Your Novel Workbook,” by K.M. Weiland. I wish I’d found this book in 2008 when I decided to get serious about writing, but alas, the book came out in 2014.

The 5 Big Moments begin after you think of all the possibilities in your story. After the Log Line, and your Premise.

Ever had that brain block moment, where you stop and you don’t know where to go?

The questions in this book help get you past that and it’s a real workbook, not just a text. My resource last month is also another great tool to make your mind buzz with possibility.

So what are the 5 Big Moments?

They are moments when the character is faced with a no turning back decision. They impact your main character in an uncomfortable way where the motivation or want is clearly at risk. The main character doesn’t get what she desires the most. She squirms. A decision has to be made. Change has to result. Settings blossom out of a big moment and all sorts of complications result moving your main character into the next Big Moment, 2, 3, 4 and finally the climax. I love how this resource book makes me think of these 5 Big Moments and then asks me what are potentially 4 complications that result in each moment. I would have stopped at one had the book not pushed me forward. Also, never never give your main character what she wants, else the risk and the suspense dies.

I won’t spoil the rest of the working questions in this chapter of the book, but now I find myself unable to plot my own manuscript without it. Ever come across this resource? Do you plot out the Big Moments in your story before you start writing a real single line?

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 May 17, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 41 Comments.

  1. I love all the tips I get from KM Weiland’s blog. Now to get this book…

  2. I hear you about outlining. For me, a loose outline that hits the major plot points/turning points is the key to a successful story. I actually do a second outline after a first draft, because we all know first drafts are train wrecks–not matter how well intentioned.

  3. I haven’t heard of the 5 Big Moments approach before, but it sounds interesting and helpful. At the outlining stage is where I do all this structuring and this would fit right in. Thanks for sharing, Erika. 🙂

    • You are most welcome Diana. I really love actual workbooks with lines to write in. However, I don’t actually write on them. They just make me happy for some reason 🙂

  4. I plot out the whole story BEFORE I get going into the writing — I’ve seen Weiland’s work and it’s been so helpful for my own!

  5. I’ve looked her up too and will be checking her out. Thanks, Erika. Great post. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  6. Loni Townsend

    Thinking of major moments like that are hard for me. I know certain things will happen in the story, but I’m utterly incapable of telling you before hand how it will affect the characters or how they will react. Does that make me a plantser? I plan the events and pants the outcome? I can’t plan out any of those big moments for the characters because unless I’m writing, I don’t know what they’ll do.

  7. K.M Weiland has lots of great books on writing. Her advice is clear and concise and always gives me something to work on. I’ve use the workbook too. Thanks for sharing this with everyone.

  8. Haven’t heard of this approach before. I’ll add it to my list of plotting devices.

  9. Great post! Thanks for sharing this 🙂

  10. This is new to me, also. I’ll try it out soon. Thanks for the info!

  11. This sounds like such a great workbook, I’ve come across Weiland online but never read anything by her. I’ll have to get hold of some of her books!

  12. I will definitely check out the book, thanks for sharing it. It sounds like the technique is similar to what I naturally started to do when I began writing, but I am always interested in learning more.

  13. Interesting theory. We are the products of the situations we live to tell. And the story exists in how we got through. Will have to look into this. Thank you 🙂

  14. Love the idea of structuring a story with these “Big Moments.” Thinking about my current WIP, there are a few moments like this that naturally emerged, but it’ll be helpful to go in and think about how the stakes are raised with the decisions the characters make.

    Also, I love the start of this blog post, about how when we’re younger the days seem endless. I’m only 24 (turning 25 this Monday!) and I already feel pressed for time. I gotta finish my novel!

    Thanks for this great post!

    • I really appreciate your sweet compliment Caroliena. I like reading other wistful posts from others too because I think I find out more about who a person is on the inside. Time goes faster the older you get too. You can do it!

  15. In my third book, I think I gave my main character at least ten moments. I just kept throwing crap at him!

  16. Oh, but you have to give your character what they want SOMETIME! Like, say… the end? And a little kiss here and there 😉 but this is great. So many of my clients stick with only one or two major moments, but gunning for five is a good way to ensure that you keep the rollercoaster running. I’ll have to check to see if my current books have these.

  17. I always start by just writing impulsively. I need to get the characters down first. Although often I’ve run the idea by my agent and/or editor and they’ve given feedback, so I know the very basics. Once I have a few chapters done, I then write out the synopsis and plan out the rest.

  18. I haven’t heard of this way of plotting before. It sounds intriguing and is something I might have to try.

    I do, however, have to map out my main character(s) first before I can even move on to plot though.

  19. The book and concept sound familiar, and now that you’re pushing me, I think I’m going to have to take the extra step and investigate it. 🙂 Thanks Erika. Great blog, and I can’t wait for the next one!

  20. I love KM Weiland! She is absolutely wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

  21. Great post. I’m a huge fan of K. M. Weiland’s stuff, too. As you mentioned in your post, her writing tools have helped me through many a scrape!

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