Posted by: nancyisanders | January 15, 2013

Welcome to My World


Recently I started working on a new middle grade novel. It is being written at a specific reading level, which puts it in the category of a beginning reader, or early reader, as some people refer to it. Think first chapter book or early chapter book.

Since this novel is under contract and is part of a series, the publisher requires an outline of the entire novel before I ever write one single word.

I thought you might be interested to hear how the process worked from beginning to end.

First of all, the publisher had asked an intern to develop the initial outline. It’s historical fiction, so the intern gathered research on the era and actual historic people that the fictional story would include. Then she wrote a chapter-by-chapter outline listing scenes in each chapter that would move the plot forward. She created a 15-chapter outline because the books in this series all have 15 chapters.

Next, I was sent the outline and asked for input. I took some time to think about the direction I felt the book should go. I tossed out some scenes and added other scenes that I felt would make the plot more interesting, kid-appealing, and action packed while also supporting the story’s theme in a stronger way.

Then I sent my revisions back to my editor. My editor and the creative director of the project then went back and forth brainstorming ideas for various plot changes. They also changed some of the ideas for several of the characters so they would have more impact on the plot and support the theme better as well.

A few times during this stage, I was asked to give input into the changes that were being made on the outline.

Next, the creative director of the project went through and finalized the plot from beginning to end, highlighting key scenes to take the characters from the opening of the story to its conclusion.

This final outline was then sent to me.

On your mark…get set…go! I was off and running with my new writing project.

And in the meantime, I’m also discussing the next book in the series with my editor. And for the next book, they’re talking about having me create the initial outline. (Their intern went back to school.)

This means planning the plot, pure and simple.

To help prepare for this upcoming task, I’m spending a portion of my days reviewing, researching, investigating, and learning about PLOT.

I thought you might like to join me in my journey!!! So here on my blog in upcoming posts, among other things, I’ll be talking a lot about PLOT. It’s gonna be lots of fun, so roll up your sleeves, and hop on board!

Let’s polish our plotting skills!


  1. Congratulations on this new contract! How many books will you write for this series? Sounds interesting!

    • Thanks, Tina! And not sure about the number…just moving forward one step at a time.

  2. Hurray, Nancy! What a journey you’ve been on with this project! And now to be chosen to be the main plot-developer is such an honor! You’ve earned it with all your hard work and devotion. I think you must be the Energizer Bunny of writers. Write on, my friend! Congrats!

    • Thanks, Val!!! And what a funny visual. :o)

  3. Looking forward to these posts Nancy. Thank you!

    • Great, Cathy! I’ve been really digging up some nuggets about plotting, so we’re gonna have lots of fun learning some strategies and techniques…together!

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