Plotting and Outlining My Novel ‘Night of Thieves’, by Jeff Nelson
Over the coming months I will be writing my first novel manuscript, provisionally titled ‘Night of Thieves’.
The novel is set against the backdrop of the French Riviera in the early nineteen sixties, a period when the jet-set flocked to the Riviera’s sun drenched beaches and picturesque towns.
The story follows a man whose enviable lifestyle has been financed by a string of jewel thefts that hadn’t until recently attracted the attention of the Surete (French Police).
The novel opens with him restless and longing for excitement, and quickly moves to a glamorous party in Cannes announcing a new film to be shot on location on the Riviera. He meets and is immediately attracted to the film’s young actress who is wearing a rare and valuable diamond necklace that will be featured in the new film.
Challenges arise for him when his Fence (a buyer of stolen goods) has a buyer for the necklace and wants him to steal it and when his former protégé returns to the Riviera with her eye on the necklace.
Can he resist the temptation that the necklace offers, does he even want to? – And what of the French Police who’ll be looking at him should the necklace go missing. But the necklace also has a history and a violent background to contend with.
Night of Thieves is a story I’ve been pondering and plotting for a little while now and actually came about from plotting out a background story for another novel I was considering set in contemporary times! – So aspiring writers be careful that you don’t spend too much time working on back-stories for the characters and plot or you’ll never get started on the actual writing.
But now it’s time for me to consolidate my plot ideas into a reasonably coherent outline and from there the build of each chapter upon chapter…, but first the outline.
My outline grew and grew and became many pages long and was in many parts filled with questions and possible answers to particular plot points – if I did this what would happen next, how would the characters resolve this problem, get out of this situation etc…
I then found out about the synopsis, a generally 2-3 page outline of your novel submitted to potential publishers, and started to write one and failed – I ended up with 11 pages (they were double spaced however!), but what I did achieve is to finally shape those pages and pages of plot points, questions and semi coherent scrawling from my initial outlining into a reasonably coherent story and I now have a story outline, despite being 11 pages long from start to finish and in chapter order that I can work with.
The next stage will be consolidating those 11 pages into 2 pages for potential publishers and others that may be interested in the novel (but at least they can be single spaced!).
I’ve also began the start of the initial few chapters … but more on that in the next post.