What is a scene? 

A scene as it pertains to a novel is the smallest most basic unit of organizing your story. We use scenes to build our stories one unit at a time. 

A good scene is like a mini-arc in its own right; it has a beginning, middle, and end. A scene is meant to further the reader’s understanding of the broader context of the story, characters, mood, themes, and plot if your scene doesn’t do this either change it or cut it out. A scene can be written to react to other scenes, to anticipate a future scene or to adjust the pacing of the story.

The difference between the arc in a scene and the overall arc of your story is: questions raised in a scene do not necessarily need to be answered by the end of that scene. The questions can be answered in another scene and or another chapter. On the other hand, the main questions set at the beginning of the novel should be answered by the end of your book.

Scenes take place to build stories as well as advance the main plot. Thinking of your story in terms of scenes can help organize your ideas and write your story in a more manageable way.

Remember when you are setting the stage for your scene, don’t dilly dally. Establish which characters are in your scene, the time, location, be clear about the reason for this scene and make sure it is active and pushes the story forward. Avoid overwriting, stick with short sentences. Consider the flow of your story. It would be easier for your readers to follow along if you stick with a simple model of one idea per scene. Every sentence and paragraph works towards the single purpose of your scene. When one scene ends, and another begins, you can make the distinction via a line break, or you can transition with a few sentences that explain the shift.

Till next time, live your happiest life.

Plot is the most common way to structure a story this includes diving your plot into the 3 act structure. However, there do exist stories that have no plot at all. This form of a plotless story works well for short stories and less well for narrative forms bigger than short stories.

The narrative of a story without plot will be centered around symbols, impressions, wordsmithing among other techniques that create and center around a narrative.

The goals of such stories are to evoke emotions, moods, explore themes and share experiences. Authors use this model to explore some aspect of the human condition.

Triumph vs. Tragedy is another model an author can use to structure a story. Setting out to have your protagonist triumph in the face of adversity would be the goal of your story.

Tragedy happens over and over again and the protagonist fails over and over again along the journey towards the point of redemption/climax. Towards the climax, the protagonist overcomes the urge to give up and make one more stand a final confrontation, the end of which the protagonist has the option to accept or reject redemption.

In this type of structure, often the story starts past the status quo. The status quo is mentioned and assumed to give the reader some context but as an author, you would want to jump straight into the struggle. The best way to stay on track in this type of structure is to set up milestones for your character. On a separate note, you do not have to write towards redemption but if drama is your goal you can bet a redemption arc is the way to go.

Till next time, libe your happiest life.

Following your main storyline, you are sure to discover one or more subplots within your narrative. As writers, we can use subplot as a way to structure your story in terms of creating a cohesive whole. There are a few things to keep in mind when using subplots.

First and foremost, a subplot should never be forced into your story. You will fool no one. When a subplot is forced, your readers will see and know it without question. It disturbance the reading flow and overall enjoyment because it removes the reader from the story.

Your subplot should grow naturally as you develop your main storyline, characters, motives, and so on.

The purpose of a subplot should first and foremost be to push the main story forward through the second act or middle through to the denouement. A subplot also helps deepen your readers understanding of the overall story arc. Subplots also pose and solve issues that are intertwined with the main problem your story sets out to address within the narrative. Ie. Braiding.

As I mentioned, your subplots should not be forced; instead, they should develop naturally. So this begs the question: how does an author develop a subplot?

    Subplots will make themselves known in several ways; through images and symbols that pop up often within your story. Subplots tend to emerge more with your secondary characters – this does not mean every secondary character is tied to a subplot. Finding your subplots may be easier to do once your first draft is complete (in my personal opinion). Once you have discovered the reoccurring symbols and images, our job becomes to decipher their meaning concerning your main plot, characters, motives, themes, and so on. After you have discovered and interpreted the symbols and images, you can begin to develop your subplots and strengthen them within your narrative. Remember subplots are story arcs of their own, and by the middle of the book, the story arcs of the subplots should be moving towards a conclusion.

Let’s look at one of the most common ways to structure a story; The Three Act Structure or Division. Most of us have, at some point, heard of dividing our narratives into 3 parts, the beginning, the middle, and the end.

Act 1, The Beginning:

   This includes your opening scene, which is arguably one of the most critical scenes you will write because it consists of the juicy hat bait that lures the reader in and convinces them to stay along for the whole meal.

   Aside from the opening scene, the beginning is also where you give the reader a glimpse of the status quo a slice of ordinary life for your characters and an overview of the central conflict. Many writers also foreshadow the ending of their novel in act 1.

Act 2, The middle:

   This is where most authors get stuck, (which is why I recommend having a basic outline for your story. If you know where the character is headed or what needs to happen to carry them to the end the middle will be less daunting). The center is usually the most important section of your story. Here you want to keep the momentum of the beginning going with increased complications, rising stakes, and rising action bringing everything to a boil in the climax.

   The second act is where you will show the bulk of your characters journey, arc, as well as story development. It’s where you dangle victory like a carrot having your protagonist reach for it and almost grasping it just to pull it away – the first culmination. The protagonist failure could lead to a dark moment an internal struggle that the protagonist needs to overcome, which leads to the protagonist’s last stand, plot point two.

Act 3, The End:

Act 3 is typically the shortest of the acts. It includes the denouement or cooldown as I like to call it. This is where you bring the reader down from the high of the climax; the tension should be over and done with at this point. Act 3 also included the wrap-up – tying up any remaining loose ends and answering any lingering questions. This is also where you want to show the final consequences or effects of the decisions made during the climax. The consequences or effects become the new status quo. An epilogue, if you choose to write one, would also be included in act 3.

   On a side note, do not rush the ending take the time you need to finish it on a strong, satisfying note. If you are writing a series, sequel or trilogy it is more than okay purposefully leave some questions unanswered at the end of book one to continue and bring readers back for book two and three and so on. That being said if you are writing a stand-alone it is also acceptable to leave some speculation about the characters’ future, in other words, you don’t have to end the story with a long history lesson about the rest of the characters life.

Till next time, live your happiest life.

The outline of your story is like the skeleton structure. It’s a map that helps you see where you want to go one step at a time. The difference is your map is not permanently set you can add parts or remove parts as needed. Any online whether it is a rough idea of the main events of your story or a well thought out detailed description of every chapter and or scene will help you stay on point. The main purpose of outlining is to give shape to your vision which in turn will allow you to better construct your plot.

This is also why many novelists will write the end or a rough idea of the end first. By knowing the end you can reverse engineer your story so that everything that happens will lead to the ending you created. Knowing the ending will also help you choose which circumstances, character arcs, story arcs, actions, moods, subplots and so on will contribute to and serve your story.

An initial outline can also help if you chose to braid your main story with two to four story strands. An outline will help you track which strands goes where and breaks the overall story down into smaller more manageable sections.

Remember there is no perfect cookie cutter way to construct your plot, you need to experiment and find the way that works best for you. That being said there are a few factors to keep in mind when plotting. For example stick, to the rules and logic, you create within your story, especially at the end no one likes a deus ex machina Latin: “god from the machine”, this is basically a sudden and unexpected solution to a difficult situation that seems hopeless or unsolvable. The example you put your characters in a life and death situation and instead of coming up with a solution that works with the rules and logic of your story a random god never mentioned before appears out of nowhere to save your characters. This is a good way to earn frustration and anger from your readers.

Till next time, live your happiest life.

What is a Plot:

   A plot is the process of building your story, spinning your thoughts, and ideas into a worthy tale. The plot encompasses all the events and actions that happen in your story. It pushes the story forward with dramatic event after dramatic event within the confines of your narrative. Your Plot starts with the first word of your story and carries the story through the middle and onto the end.

You can also consider your plot in terms of the questions that are raised within the narrative and the answers you present to your readers. BY no means does this mean that your story has to be full of action and adventure. A good plot manages events throughout the story revealing and unwrapping questions, answers, and events while remaining true to the logic and or rules you set within the narrative of your story.

Your plot will drive your story forward one chapter and scene at a time. As authors our job is to create suspense within the narrative and build it up then release it and build it up again, We do this over and over until the answers we provided no longer raise new questions this is usually by the climax, and in the denouement, we tie up loose ends.

Like characters, plots have arcs. The plot arc and the character arcs should run parallel to each other throughout your story for the most dramatic effect. Typically a character arc will show the internal progression of a character through their motivations, conflicts, and resolutions. Plot arc, on the other hand, will show the external progressions.

A note on conflict. Conflict is the resistance or opposition the protagonist has to face and provokes the characters into making choices which push the story forward. Resistance can take many shapes it could be the antagonist, but it could also be a force of nature, higher power and so on.

In summary, the plot is how the questions asked in your narrative are answered. The plot is also the means of following the protagonist through a series of events that lead to a resolution, whether or not they achieve their goals.

Till next time live your happiest life.

Not all small and independent publishing are made equal.

Today I want to present the story of how I almost got robbed as a precautionary tale and in the hopes of potentially saving others from falling in this trap. Like most people, when I started this writing journey, it was with the full intention of landing a deal with a big publishing house. To be honest, I was more than a little ignorant on the process. Only when I was close to the end of my final draft, I looked into submitting my manuscript, and I was a little shocked to find out that big publishing companies do not accept unsolicited work.

So naturally, the next step for me was to find an agent. I compiled a list of agencies. A week before my son was born I had sent out my manuscript to two places the first was what I thought was a big publishing company that didn’t require representation and the second was a literary agency. Then my son came along and bonding with him, and being a mom became my number one priority, everything else got put on the back burner.

A few weeks later, I received a package in the mail, to my surprise and overwhelming joy it was an acceptance letter the publishing company (who I will not name) liked my work. They wanted to work with me. It was a dream come true all I had to do was to sign the contract and send it back to them in the mail with a check. My husband, who was home that day read part of the contract, and he didn’t like the terms. I have to say it wasn’t just about having to dish out money because a lot of legitimate indie companies will charge for services and if rumors are to be believed I have heard it said some big publishing, companies are moving in that direction.

That night and for the next few days, we researched and read reviews. It turned out they are a legitimate small publishing house who wanted to give me a measly 25% royalties. According to the reviews I read, and there were many from different sites, they barely did any editing or marketing. They claim to put your book in stores, but all they do is put it on a list so the store could order your book if they so wished. Some reviewers said this company pursues legal action against authors who speak out against them. I decided not to pursue my career with them, and yes, finding out all that negative information broke my heart.

I am grateful for the experience because it taught me how important research is and helped me stumble onto an important organization, Alliance of Independent Authors. There is a link to their website in the resources. They are an amazing non-profit group who vet services offered to indie and self-publishing authors. Through their site, I found the amazing independent publishing company I am proud to work with, DartFrog Books., book one is presently in publication under their banner.

People who knew I was writing a book would often ask me where and when did I find the time to write. My first book has been in the making for a long time. Some would argue too long but that’s okay because I wasn’t in a rush to finish my work or leave my full-time job, and I’m still not.

So, when do I write? Well, whenever I can. I began the writing journey for my first novel in April 2016 when I was hit with a wave of inspiration while vacationing in Cuba.

2016 up to the latter part of 2018 was a very busy time in my life. Apart from working full-time, I planned my bachelorette party and wedding which included making table decorations from scratch. I got married in October 2016. After the wedding, I planned our honeymoon, started a new position at work in May 2017, fell pregnant in February 2018 and gave birth to my beautiful baby boy in October 2018.

The time I devoted to writing varied but I made a point to never leave home without my notebook. I spent every day to and from work via public transport, an approximate two-hour commute writing ideas, setting, developing characters, plot, pieces of dialogue or scenes, whatever came to mind. When I had a good grasp of where my story was headed I put it together again all by hand. After recuperating from the wedding I had the mental and physical capacity to devote some extra time to writing before bed.

Sometimes I had to bench my writing because other events in my life had to be the priority, for example, the week before my wedding I wasn’t writing I was busy running around, calling people, making sure everything was ready. Another example was when I started my new job in May I had to pass an exam for a certification required for the position so I replaced the time I spent writing with studying. During my pregnancy, there were days I was so nauseous or exhausted I couldn’t even stand, writing was out of the question.

My advice, If you can write every day even if it’s only one sentence but, when other areas of your life take over and become the priority don’t feel bad or guilty about putting your writing on the side it can happen. What’s important is don’t lose track of your goals. Remember that whatever is occupying your writing time it’s temporary. Once you are in the clear dive right back into it and don’t give up. Keep moving forward.

Right now I am lucky enough to be on maternity leave and I write when my son is napping and after I put him down for the night.

Till next time, live your happiest life.


    Hello everyone and thank you for joining me in my little corner of the internet. Through this blog, I intend to share with you my author process. I am presently in the developmental editing stage of my first novel. The tentative title of my book is Magic Behind the Gate. In my first post, I would like to share my source of inspiration for this Novel.

Back in 2016 my cousin and I vacationed in Varadero, Cuba for the first time. You may ask yourself why Cuba? Well, a good friend of mine decided to have her destination wedding in Cuba, and let me tell you I am happy she did. Cuba is incredibly beautiful we stayed at a 5-star all inclusive hotel, the beach was clean and the water a fantastic clear turquoise.  

After dinner on our first day in Cuba, we decided to get cocktail drinks and just relax. The main lobby was designed like an open-concept lounge area/piano bar. So we sat sipping our girly drinks, I think I actually had a tequila sunrise, listening to the music when a black cat casually strolled through the lobby. For those of you reading this who have been down south in the Caribbean, you know this is common. I can’t say why but, watching that black cat stroll through the lobby tail held high with confidence like it owned the place inspired me to take out my little notebook and start writing.

I was initially going to title my book Black cats and witches hats, and I had begun writing it as a teen novel but as the story progressed it began to transform and presented itself as a more mature piece.

The second source of inspiration for this story came visiting Havana, Cuba.  Havana is a city rich in history. In old Havana, there are lots of small free museums you could visit.  It’s worth visiting old Havana just to see the Spanish influenced the architecture of the city. If you are into Hemingways work than you know, he spent a lot of time in old Havana, the inspiration for some of his stories came from his stay in Cuba. There is also the museum of the revolution which houses examples of military equipment from the 1950s. My cousin and I had bought a day tour of Havana, it didn’t include visiting the interior of the museum, but we did walk the perimeter, and that in itself was fascinating.

My story is a mix between contemporary fantasy and time and space travel fantasy that involves mages and is set in modern-day Montreal and Cuba.

Till next time, live your happiest life.