So, it’s the holiday season and as winter pulls the frost up over your window, you might feel inclined to snuggle up with your pen, pad, or laptop (and a snack and a mug of eggnog of course), and start writing! Fiction writers, especially sci-fi and fantasy writers, need a lot of internal motivation to build their amazing worlds and characters. So let’s do it together with Colby’s Christmas Countdown! As you countdown to Christmas Day, here are 25 holiday writing tips to help you along in your fiction journey! You might want to grab a special writing notebook to keep all your exercises in one place, too. By the end, you’ll have months worth of material to launch you into writing your novel series! 🙂

Tip #6: Build Your Series Skeleton, Part I – Plot Cores

Here comes the fun part! We are going to start building our novel series from the ground up using the work we’ve been doing and the notes we’ve been taking over the past five exercises! So break out your writing notebook and review your research notes! Here, we are going to identify the big themes, controversies, tragedies, successes, and concepts from your research that can form “plot cores”, or the driving action of your novel and overall novel series.

If you’re writing a mystery / detective / police story, your “plot core” should answer the question “WHAT is the big mystery?” or “WHAT was the crime that needs to be solved?” For sci-fi & fantasy, “WHAT is the goal at the end of the epic journey?”, “WHAT is the final battle?”, “WHO is the boss to defeat at the end of the book?”. Or, your questions might be a combination of all the above.

Activity of the (Holi)DAY: Make a list of 3-7 major mysteries, epic battles or bosses, major goals, or major obstacles for your characters to overcome that have come out of your own research. These will be the cores of the next activity in the Countdown series, wherein we’ll be setting up our “novel series skeleton” even more!

How I Did It: I can’t reveal too much about the plot cores of “The Books of Ezekiel” series, but in the first novel I’m building up some pretty scary baddies (one in particular) that my main character will finally have to face before she can move forward. He’s a political figure, hell-bent on destroying my character’s city from the inside out. To survive, and furthermore, to spare her city from any more turmoil, my character will ultimately have to face him… even though she doesn’t want to.