FF: The Thrill of a New Story


That’s what I’m experiencing as I look forward to starting a new inspirational historical romance in the new year. Eagerness and enthusiasm are running high.

Before I begin the actual writing, I want to have a plan in place. Two years in Revision Land taught me the value of knowing where I’m heading and how I’ll get there before I allow myself to launch into the writing.


There are several aspects of the planning process I enjoy . . .

Performing the research.

Getting to know a new cast of characters.

Understanding the hero and heroines’ goals, motivations, and conflicts.

Choosing the setting.

Deciding on a theme.

Determining the faith elements.

Figuring out the best place to begin.

Coming up with a catchy opening hook.

Plotting the story, chapters, and scenes.


Once the planning is complete, I’ll be ready to put words on the page. Oh, what fun that will be.

• • • • •

I wanna know . . .

Where are you in your current story?

What aspects of planning a story do you most enjoy?

What steps do you take before you begin writing a new story?

• • • • •

This is Frabjous Friday, a time for having fun and celebrating our successes. If you have good news, please share it in a comment so we can join in your celebration.


About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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19 Responses to FF: The Thrill of a New Story

  1. Sherrinda says:

    How far along are you in your planning?

    I didn’t plan my first one, but I did on the second. Not a super detailed one, but I had the major acts down, GMC’s, character charts, etc. It was helpful.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Sherrinda, I’m glad you found planning your new story helpful.

      I’m in the early stages of my story when the plan is about as firm as jello left in the sun. 🙂

      This is a fun stage, because the characters have begun chatting and the plot is starting to take shape.

  2. Diane says:

    I think you’re wise to have a plan in place. Much smarter than going around the mountain again! :O)

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Diane, how wise you are. I’ve been around the mountain with the story my agent sent out on submission so many times I’d gotten dizzy. It’s taken me a couple of months to unwind. 🙂

      I learned valuable lessons during my extended visit to Revision Land. One of the main ones is that I’d prefer not to go through that experience again. Thus, my transition from pantser to plotter.

  3. Cathy West says:

    Hey Keli!
    I love the beginning of a story – meeting the new characters and trying to figure out what they’ll get up to next. I don’t enjoy that sagging middle quite so much! I’ve tried to plot, but can’t seem to get my SOTP brain around the concept. So I struggle through ’till the end and then go back and rewrite. Again and again! I’m approaching the middle in one of my wip’s at the moment. Which is why I’m reading and commenting on blogs instead of writing. 🙂

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Cathy, your way of doing things has value and must work for you because YOU SOLD YOUR BOOK!!! I still feel a happy dance coming on every time I think of that. 🙂

  4. I hear ya, Keli!! I definitely will plan more before I launch into the first draft of my next novel. Revising this past year was so difficult that I don’t plan to do it quite like that again.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Heather, thank for your admission. It’s reassuring to know I didn’t suffer alone and that you can empathize. I’m sorry you had to endure that pain, though, and hope doing things differently this time works well for you.

  5. christicorbett says:

    I’m going through my manuscript one last time, doing a final line edit.

    I hope to finish soon (I have a very busy “real life” that includes five-year-old twins)and jump on the query train.

    Christi Corbett

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Christi, I wish you well on your edit. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it would be to find time for your writing and to concentrate with two five-year-olds around.

      I wish you well as you prepare to query and hope to hear good news in the near future.

  6. Jill Kemerer says:

    Sounds like fun, Keli!

    I’m revising a book I wrote a few years ago. I love the characters and setting, but the GMC’s and their backgrounds needed a complete overhaul. I’m still figuring out the details!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Jill, I hope the revision process goes smoothly, that the GMCs become crystal clear, and that you have fun spending time with beloved characters.

  7. Hi, Keli! That’s a great list to use when preparing your novel. I admit, I’m right in a the middle of a story I’m wavering on. There’s another that’s trying to sneak its way in and I’m excited about it. I try to make it a habit to finish one story before starting the next but I think I might break my own rules. Traditionally, I do a lot of preparing but I’m trying to find a way to leave room for some spontaneity.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Cindy, isn’t it tough when another story starts calling? I recall a time when I had to have a heart-to-heart with one of my heroines and tell her she had to wait her turn and assure her it was coming. Thankfully, she believed me and quieted down.

      I’ve heard that it can be helpful to spend a little time recording the ideas for the new story that keeps coming to mind so they’re not lost. Perhaps that would help make the new characters happy and allow you to concentrate on the current story.

  8. Keli, enjoy the thrill of your new story.

    I am in the editing stage of my current novel. I love research, once done with my favorite people librarians. Now my librarian is Google search.

    I have learned the hard way (my way) about basic mistakes. I use a research file for info I find before I begin. I also do complete characterizations with time lines. These are the first two doc files I put in the new folder.

    I fall in love with my characters. A story might come from one line, one memory or one compeling character, not nec. the MC.

    That done, I begin with the opening and try not to look back until I’m finished. For me, it is the delight of getting it all out of my head at last.

    Then I edit, edit, revise, rewrite and edit 🙂

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Ramblings, research is so much fun. I can get swept up in it and lose track of time. I’ve had to learn to leave VERIFY THIS notes in my manuscripts and forge ahead.

  9. Hi Keli,

    It’s great to find a blog like this to help new aussie writers of inspirational romance. We are new to the field, with only Mary Hawkins representing us to date and more recently, Rita Galieh. Now we have Amanda Deed, winner of our first inspirational writing award, the CALEB. Check her out at my aussiewriters blog.

    Blessings on your work:-)
    Wendy Sargeant

  10. Susan Mason says:

    Hi Keli,

    So glad you’re getting to move on to a new story. It’s such fun thinking up interesting story lines.

    I started a new one a few months ago, and am still trying to work out the logistics. I’m at about chapter 7 and keep going back to fix things. So now I’m at a bit of a stand still while I make sure I know where I’m heading.

    Have fun with your new characters!


  11. Christine says:

    Keli, I’m glad to hear you’re percolating a new story. As for me, my favorite part of a new book is dreaming up the plot, I think mostly because the mind can race with ideas without being committed to the work of making it all play out on paper.

    I’ll be starting a new book in January, so hopefully we can encourage one another along.

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