Friday, January 6, 2012


I'm sure many of you remember Camilla from our October EVERY WITCH WAY BUT WICKED KNTR FUNDRAISER! If not, here's a bit about her: 

Camilla Chafer is the author of the Stella Mayweather series. The first three books - Illicit Magic, Unruly Magic, and Devious Magic - are out now at Amazon, B&N, iTunes and other retailers. Camilla resides in London, UK, with her family and cat/ footwarmer Dana. You can find her online at and @camillawrites.

And now...I'm turning the blog over to her! Welcome, Camilla!

Hey Rocco,

Thanks for having me over today. I thought it would be cool to write about how I plot a novel, because that's the foundation for getting a novel out.

When I first started writing books, I knew there were a lot of different ways to plot and write. I figured I would find one style that suited me and I would stick to it. Truth is, I like to write in a variety of ways and that involves employing several different practices to get my final result.

But how do I start? For fiction, my starting place is invariably a "what if...?" The question gives me a great basis to spin lots of other ideas, eventually resulting in the overarching theme and plot of the novel. From there, I write a basic outline of what happens. The key to that bit is basic: it's just a couple of paragraphs, or a very loose blurb. At this point, I probably haven't worked out the subplots or even how the novel will be plotted and a lot will change by the time I get my end result. For example, with Illicit Magic, all the way through I was convinved the villain was one character... except when it came to writing the reveal scene, and I realised it was someone else!

I like to think of writing a book as a bit like building a human. (NOTE FROM ROCCO:  NOW THAT IS INTERESTING - BUT WHO WOULD WANT TO?  BUILDING A CAT ....HMMMM)So this loose plot is my backbone but it still needs a lot more...
For more indepth plotting, I use a number of techniques and I might use all of them, or one, or a couple. They are:

1. Brainstorm
The brainstorm is a fun one. Starting from a central point, I write down characters I see being in the novel, events, situations. All these things spark other ideas, giving me new avenues to explore and show me what's going to be in the novel, and what's out.

2. Timeline
The timeline is currently my favourite way of plotting a novel. Simply draw a line on a piece of paper and write "beginning" at one end, and "End at another". Now, it's time to fill it in, arranging the order of different events. This is a great way to mix and match ideas and build the novel up in my mind, giving me a clearer picture. The timeline can be a basic thing to begin with, and I fill it in as I go and more things crop up.

3. Chapter outline
The chapter outline is, again, not massively indepth. I write three or four lines of the main points of the chapter so I can see what is supposed to happen to lead me to the next chapter.

My latest discovery is Scrivener, a piece of software that is great for both writing and organising research. Here I can add my timeline, character bios, location notes, even pictures. It costs around $40/£30 but you can try it for free for 30-days. I'm currently using it to write the first novel in a new mystery series.


MEOW! Thanks for that insightful article, Camilla!  Folks: 
Camilla is giving away two copies of Illicit Magic (winners get a Smashwords coupon so they can download their e-format of choice).  To enter, make a comment on this post in the comments section. (leave an email address so we can get in touch with you if you win!)  To get extra entries, you can:
Mention this post and contest on Twitter
Mention this post and contest on Facebook
Friend Camilla
Friend The Human, Toni LoTempio
Friend ME! Rocco, the SciFi Blogging Cat
Follow me on Twitter @RoccoBlogger

Be sure to put in your comments all the extras so we can give you extra entries! Contest is open to US and abroad, and closes Midnight, January 12 - Winners announced Friday, January 13th. So Friday the 13th will be lucky for two followers!

And be sure to take notes - you never know if I will ask a question on this post for my store giveaway on the 30th!

Coming soon:  an interview with romantic suspense author Adrienne Giordano plus giveaway; guest post by MaryJanice Davidson and giveaway; and lots more!

You don't want to miss a minute of BLOGAVERSARY!



  1. This sounds like a great series. I would definately love to win. Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win. I love to read and always looking for new books and authors to check out. Already a friend of Camilla. Friended Toni on facebook. Shared on facebook:

  2. I love the Stella Mayweather books and read the third book in the series just after Christmas. Fab read!

  3. sounds like a great series. count me in.

  4. i'd love to win...this was a great interview!

  5. Graet interview. You're a new author for me.