Creating a Map, by Zoey Williams

by Zoey Williams, author of Tempted by His Wicked Kiss (Harlequin Nocturne Cravings, December 2013)

I’m a planner. I love making to-do lists (and the satisfying feeling of checking something off), travels plans, and get-togethers whenever my group of friends happens to be in the same zip code. So it’s no surprise that I like to plan out my writing projects.

Before writing my first novella, THE DEMON’S FORBIDDEN PASSION, I created a basic map for myself that listed the major conflicts of the text and where in the story they would come up. But I didn’t create a chapter-by-chapter road map for myself. So for a bit of the novella, I was kind of flying blind. I’d sit down to write my word count that day and have no idea where the story was going to take me. It was fun and exhilarating—but ultimately a little scary, too.

Before I started my newest release, TEMPTED BY HIS WICKED KISS, I became more methodical in my approach. This time, after calculating a final word count goal and knowing how long a chapter of mine typically is, I knew I had to write eight chapters. And so I numbered a piece of paper one through eight and wrote a one-sentence description of what would happen in that chapter, almost like a writing prompt. Once I had the road map in place, I felt more confident each morning when I went to my keyboard.

I also found that I have to write in order; I never cherry-pick which chapter I want to write that day. I do this because if I jump to the chapters I find easier to write, it’ll make the chapters I find harder to write even harder. Avoiding the hard chapters won’t make them go away! Plus, it kind of felt like a reward to write an easier chapter after writing a harder chapter. And so it felt like a reward to finally write the chapter I was most looking forward to in TEMPTED BY HIS WICKED KISS, chapter seven, in which the hero must dig up a grave. Sounds pretty creepy to look forward to something like that, right? But there’s something in the grave that belongs to the heroine and he wants to make everything right.

I couldn’t wait to write that chapter because there was just so much opportunity. Happening during the dead of night on New Years Eve in a fictional graveyard in the West Village of New York City, I could play with the sounds of New York City at night, how cold the biting late December wind is, even the ghastly sights the hero would experience while searching through the unearthed casket. The scene is tense and atmospheric. But in the end, what the hero needs is returned to her like a holiday miracle.

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One Response to Creating a Map, by Zoey Williams

  1. Thanks for sharing your method, Zoey! Plotting is my nemesis so I’m going to try your idea of a one sentence prompt per scene — kind of like a beat sheet, no?

    Looking forward to reading your newest release,

    Debbie Herbert
    Siren’s Secret, Harlequin Nocturne

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