Pillar 2 in Jesper Schmidt and Autumn M. Birt’s Plot Development Step by Step Book is all about the journey. They outline the section in a series of plot posts integral to fully developed story. I did follow the exercise completely, all 69 pages of it, but I will not be showing that outline here. Instead I will talk about the beginning, and how Ally and Riley ended up in their mess.
Why am I not sharing the Posts? For several reasons. First, even though I outlined it and have a general sense of where the story is going, I find that a strict outline does not work for me.
The first manuscript I completed, in 2017 my first NaNoWriMo I completed a middle grade novel, I did not have an outline. I had an idea of the story I wanted to tell and wrote enthusiastically. It was through the process I would realize, I needed more structure. At the beginning of the day if I started with a blank page, I would end up staring at it for a long time before I had an idea of what I wanted to write. By the end of the month I was jotting down notes the night before so I had something to start with. It was stressful, but a great way to learn what didn’t work for me.
I then started taking creative writing courses. They helped me find a writing style that works for me. What proved just as beneficial is I kept writing. I would brainstorm ideas and searched online for ideas of how to structure my stories. Then every NaNo event, whether the big NaNoWriMo in November, or camp in April or July, I would write. It is thanks to the combination of learning and experience that I have the beginning of a writing style that works for me. I say a beginning, because I am still at the beginning of my journey. If there is a workshop, webinar, a podcast, a book that looks interesting, I investigate it. I love to learn and happily embrace new strategies I can incorporate in my learning. Creating this blog is one of them! As an introverted person, I prefer small groups of people I can get to know and hang out with. I am not as good at large events. The blog provides a way for me to be both.
Back to Ally and Riley’s journey. Ally doesn’t want to live on a boat her entire life, but she doesn’t know how to tell her parents she doesn’t want to take over the family business. To see her backstory, here is a link to her introductory blog post. She has applied to colleges and universities where she had a chance at a swimming scholarship. And finally, she was accepted.
Riley, her best friends see his intro here, the only person she trusts where her secrets, is taking her out on the town to celebrate. They have one little errand to run for his parents and then they are free. Unfortunately, not everything goes as they plan and they end up chasing down the missing envelope before Riley’s parents lose out on a contract that will put their company in jeopardy, and they need to get back to the boat before it takes off and her parents meet it to find her missing and her acceptance letter on her bed.
Ally needs to create her own future, but hurting her family would break her heart.
Riley loves being apart of his families’ business, and wants they to see him as a responsible adult, not the baby of the family.
Riley’s family has been working on the river as long as Ally’s has. Such history also means they know the secrets of the river. Something Riley’s family shared with him, but Ally’s hasn’t. Some of those secrets are at risk as they two friends chase down the missing contract. Riley wants to share what he knows, but how can he tell his friend the secrets of the valley when all she wants is to escape? He was trusted with the knowledge of magic in the valley, a part of the community that may be responsible for the missing document. If they don’t find it, then there is more than his families’ boating company at stake.
As this book is a prequel to the River Run Series, it will be a full story in itself but will leave open plot points for entry into the trilogy. It, and the free short story, Lynx in Exile, which you can get by signing up below, provide background to the River Run Series that will be published in 2021.