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Basic Story Structure: 5 Plot Points

Basic Story Structure: 5 Plot Points by Jill Kemerer

If you’re like me, you probably have twenty-plus books on the writing craft hanging around. They’re on my office shelf. Stacked on my desk. Lingering under my nightstand in my bedroom. I can’t seem to get enough books on writing!

Not only do I keep buying books (which is part of my personal continuous education plan), I review old ones periodically to refresh my skills. One of the topics I return to again and again is key plot points.

Since I’m a novelist, creating a cohesive plot is very important to me. What’s more, I write commercial fiction. Readers of commercial fiction have clear expectations for story, specifically what makes it good and what makes it compelling.

Writers don’t always know how to translate the idea in our head to the page in a cohesive way. That’s why understanding basic plot points can be so helpful for plotters (writers who plan the story out before writing) and pantsers (writers who pour the story out as it comes to them).

What I’m sharing today is my personal bare-bones, essential 5 plot points. These were derived from various plotting methods (I’ve included links at the end of the post).

One nice perk of knowing this basic story structure is that the 5 plot points make a simple synopsis. Expand on them for a more detailed synopsis.

You might have a different take on key plot points. That’s fine. Whatever works for you! This works for me.

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February 2022 Goals

February 2022 Goals by Jill Kemerer

My writer productivity skyrockets when I set monthly goals. At the beginning of each week I break them down into daily tasks that will work within my current schedule. Do you know how great it is to finish projects? Of course you do! For me, setting monthly goals makes it all possible.

Every month I share how I did the previous month as well as my new goals. Let’s get to it!

How Did I Do? Jill’s January Goals

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Blog Posts I Recently Enjoyed Reading

Blog Posts I Recently Enjoyed about Staying Focused

To stay with January’s productivity/time management theme, I’m sharing links to a few blog posts I recently read.

The first one was a guest post by Tamera Alexander over at Seekerville–“10 Writing Tips for Staying Focused & Finishing Your Book.”

Here’s an excerpt:

1. Disconnect…and be disciplined about it—

So easy to say, so hard to do.

In my early years of writing there weren’t as many distractions as there are today—yes, we did already have cell phones and email (I wrote my first novel in 2002, not the dark ages!)—but phones and email and social media weren’t the “great commanders of time” as they seem to be now. The number of ways to communicate has increased exponentially since then. Which, in turn, has contributed to our lack of concentration and ability to focus.

Now there’s Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, blogs and the list goes on and on. An author could easily spend the majority of her time doing social media, staying connected with readers (which is an absolute blast!), and sorting the rest of “life stuff” that always crops up—and never write. Or at least never finish that novel.

The best—the only—way I’ve found that works for me is to turn it off. Literally.

There’s much more to it, and it’s worth the entire read. You can find the rest of the post HERE.

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The Secret to Getting Started

The Secret to Getting Started by Jill Kemerer author

As I write this, it’s Monday. I woke up in a crum-diddly mood, and that’s not a good thing. I can’t point to one specific reason. There were many reasons, and they all sound stupid. Regardless, I was not motivated to do anything–not one single thing–on my schedule.

Every weekday morning, after my Bible reading and coffee time, I exercise. But today? Wasn’t feeling it. In fact, my thoughts went to danger-zone territory.

  • I’m too tired.
  • It’s overcast and depressing outside.
  • Everyone else has a national holiday from work, why don’t I take one too?
  • The workout is forty-five minutes long. What kind of person ever wants to exercise for that long? Not this kind of person, that’s for sure.
  • I have other things to do. Better things. (I didn’t.)

At that point, I knew I’d be mad at myself if I chucked my entire schedule. However, I also knew today wasn’t going to light the world on fire as far as my productivity, so I decided to take a nap–with the firm agreement I would work out as soon as I woke up.

Then I’d get started on my day.

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Bite-Size Sessions for Lower Priority Projects

Bite-Size Sessions for Lower Priority Projects by Jill Kemerer

This month I’m sharing tips based on my experience with setting and meeting goals. I’ll be the first to admit I’m self-motivated and disciplined. However, I have blind spots about habits that don’t always work well for me.

Three years ago, I got serious about reworking my schedule to address those habits. You can read about it in “Get More Done with a Plan.” The schedule worked really well until the pandemic hit.

Then…things fell apart.

I slipped into my old habits. Yeah, I still met my deadlines, but I was no longer making time for the lower-priority projects. When I don’t make time for them, they NEVER get done. Because there’s always another high-priority project to jump the line.

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January 2022 Goals

Let's Set Goals January 2022. Writer productivity. Jill Kemerer

My writer productivity skyrockets when I set monthly goals. At the beginning of each week I break them down into daily tasks that will work within my current schedule. Do you know how great it is to finish projects? Of course you do! For me, setting monthly goals makes it all possible.

Every month I share how I did the previous month as well as my new goals. Let’s get to it!

How Did I Do? Jill’s December Goals

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A Cowboy To Rely On Release Day

Release Day! A Cowboy to Rely On

It’s here!!

A COWBOY TO RELY ON release day–book 2 in my Wyoming Ranchers series is in stores now! Woohoo!!

This book follows Jet Mayer as he searches for answers about his estranged brother’s death a year ago and stumbles onto two shocking secrets–a widow and a baby! Holly and little Clara are struggling, so when the Mayer family comes into the picture, she reluctantly accepts their help. Little do she and Jet know how much their lives will change by the end of the book!

Here’s the cover and back copy:

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Let’s Set Goals {December 2021}

Let's Set Goals December 2021

My writer productivity skyrockets when I set monthly goals. At the beginning of each week I break them down into daily tasks that will work within my current schedule. Do you know how great it is to finish projects? Of course you do! For me, setting monthly goals makes it all possible.

Every month I share how I did the previous month as well as my new goals. Let’s get to it!

How Did I Do? Jill’s November Goals

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Let’s Set Goals {November}

Let's Set Goals November 2021 Jill Kemerer

My writer productivity skyrockets when I set monthly goals. At the beginning of each week I break them down into daily tasks that will work within my current schedule. Do you know how great it is to finish projects? Of course you do! For me, setting monthly goals makes it all possible.

Every month I share how I did the previous month as well as my new goals. Let’s get to it!

How Did I Do? October Goals

  • Writing
  • Finish prep for all the marketing/promotion for my October 26 release, The Prodigal’s Holiday Hope. CHECK!
  • Plot Wyoming Ranchers Book 5 and write synopsis. CHECK!
  • Prep for speaking engagement mid-October. CHECK!
  • Start revising Wyoming Ranchers Book 4. CHECK!
  • Health
  • Exercise 5 days/week. CHECK! The 12-week exercise program is going well. Very hard, though.
  • Continue eating more unprocessed food. NO CHECK. I love Halloween candy.
  • Drink minimum of 72 ounces of water every day. CHECK!
  • Other
  • Get back into my 20 minute fiction reading every weekday. Kind of CHECK. I read a few novels and a biography, but I set aside more than one novel because I just couldn’t get into them. It might have been my mental state. Who knows?
  • Sneak in a walk outside when it’s nice weather. CHECK. I only got a few walks in, but they were just what I needed!

Jill’s November Goals

  • Writing
  • Final edits for Wyoming Ranchers Book 3, Guarding His Secret.
  • Finish revising Wyoming Ranchers Book 4 and submit.
  • Start prepping promotion plans for Wyoming Ranchers Book 2, A Cowboy to Rely On
  • Start drafting Wyoming Ranchers Book 5
  • Health
  • Exercise 5 days/week (I’m on Phase 3 of the 12-week workout, and it is brutal. Brutal.)
  • Eat 2 fruits/day and at least 1 raw veggie/day
  • Drink minimum of 72 ounces of water every day
  • Other
  • Read 20 minutes of fiction every weekday
  • Decorate for Christmas!!

My writing is going well. I’ve had a few hiccups lately–migraines, colds amid looming deadlines–but the Lord has given me the strength to keep making progress. I’ve had to skip 3 workouts in the past 8 weeks, which isn’t too bad. And I’m actually on track to finish my Bible-in-a-year reading plan early! I’ll take the small wins every day!

*I’m sorry if you’re getting a weird menu in the upper left corner. My website theme just updated and there’s a glitch. Hoping it will be resolved soon!*

What were your October goals? How did you do? What would you like to accomplish in November?

In case you hadn’t heard: My new series, Wyoming Ranchers, kicked off last week with the release of THE PRODIGAL’S HOLIDAY HOPE!! It’s in stores now, or you can order it online. Simply click on the link above!

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