Here's my completed template (the template itself comes from Lynn Viehl at paperbackwriter) for the novel I'm intending to write for this year's NaNoWriMo challenge. It should be noted that I did a successful NaNo with this same novel several years back - except that a) I didn't do any pre-planning, and got bolluxed and stuck about halfway through the plot, and b) That file, along with several others, was lost completely when my hard drive crashed about two years ago. I really liked my characters and the basic idea of the story, though, so I thought I'd give it another shot with a bit more focus, and see if I could get an entire first draft down instead of 50,000 meandering words with some neat bits.
I've also done a lot of thinking about the world and character in the intervening years, and have the basic set-up for novel #2 (Dragon) pretty clear in my head, if not the resolution or plot twists yet. Book #3 (Dominion) is vaguer, which is funny as heck, because this whole series stems from a scene at the beginning of book 3, which then led me to start working forward and backward with the character in that scene (How did she get here? Why are things like this? What happens next?) I'm amused that the book idea that started the whole thing is still nebulous as hell while the two prequels are pretty clear in my head.
Note to readers: Please, please, feel free to critique this - offer ideas, commentary, or anything else you please. The more thinking I do about this at this stage of the game, the smoother November is going to be, and the more likely that I'll end up with a workable finished product.
The Flayed Queen – Book One: Demon
Ten Point Plot Template:
Who: Davila – novice mage
Radik – journeyman mage, demon hunter
Demon – various names
What: Radik and Davila must prevent the demon from opening the Portal to Other Worlds, or when that fails, reseal it.
When/Where: The small country of Inviko, approximately 500 years after the demon wars (when the demon arrived), and about 1500 years after humans arrived.
Why: Demon life is incompatible with human life. Wounds they cause do not heal, and their general presence causes instability and panic. An invasion would likely eradicate humans from the planet.
Primary plot line: Davila knows nothing of magic, and Radik must teach her what she needs to know while they try to track the demon cross country.
Subplot #1: As one of a pair of male/female fraternal twins, Davila and her twin Daav automatically become heirs to the regnants if she becomes a functioning mage.
Subplot #2: The demon subverts the nuva-regnant (the non-mage ruling twin) with a promise to help her wrest mage powers from her brother, who is distracted and ineffectual as a leader, in return for her help to open the Portal “so it can return home.”
Subplot #3: The magus-regnant is dabbling in forbidden magic trying to get his wife to conceive.
Major Twist: Humans are no more native to this land than the demons are. In fact they were the successful demon invasion of their own era, having adapted to this world over the last 1500 years. (I.e. 1500 years ago, they were as inimical to life on this world as current demons are.) Demons may even be human as they were then – nobody knows.
Resolution: The demon succeeds in opening the Portal, but Davila and Radik manage to seal it again before more than a handful come through. Daav, warned by Davila, manages to get enough of the army there to kill those who come through. Davila is terribly mauled, and as of the end, her survival is still in question.