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Plot a novel has Many Strategies, Read The ideas of Cheryl Burman

The plot of a novel is a skill every author develops on their own. However, simple yet popular, Cheryl talked to me in the below interview. Please keep reading and explore different ideas of plotting and writing. About Cheryl Burman When Cheryl Burman moved to the Forest of Dean in SW England, she, like Tolkien and Rowling, was inspired to ...

The plot of a novel is a skill every author develops on their own. However, simple yet popular, Cheryl talked to me in the below interview. Please keep reading and explore different ideas of plotting and writing.

About Cheryl Burman

When Cheryl Burman moved to the Forest of Dean in SW England, she, like Tolkien and Rowling, was inspired to write. Her fantasy MG trilogy, Guardians of the Forest, is loved by all ages. Her second novel is Keepers, women’s fiction set in the 1950s Australia. Furthermore, her flash fiction, short stories and bits of her novels have won various commendations and ten of these are included in her slim collection, Dragon Gift. Her most recent book, Legend of the Winged Lion, is a prequel to Guardians, and in September, she will release River Witch, a magical realism story set on the banks of the River Severn.

As Cheryl Mayo, she is Chair of Dean Writers Circle and a founder of Dean Scribblers, which encourages the creative writing spark in young people in the community.

Usually, how long does it take to you craft a novel? Any memories of hurdles you ever stuck while processing the ideas?   

Cheryl Burman: I published my first book towards the end of 2014, and have since written 6 more, including an unpublished manuscript. I tend to think of myself as a slow writer, but the stats suggest otherwise! I spend a lot of time on editing, which is where the really hard work comes in for me – the structure, the character development, the settings as well as plain old grammar. Regarding hurdles, I'm not a detailed plotter, so the story tends to unfold as I go along and there's rarely a blockage. It's true what they say about characters taking on lives of their own and determining their courses of action for themselves!

One of your successful novels, “Keepers” is based on women. What made you write this of fiction? Keepers has a female lead character, Raine, but the other two main characters are men. Their stories are so tightly woven with Raine's that I would more say the book is based on people! It's a character-driven rather than a plot driven novel and it fits well into the women's fiction genre.

How many characters in the book, “Keepers” have, and how did you find them? Looking at the book cover, it seems like inspired by a real life incident.

Cheryl Burman: Keepers has three main characters and several secondary characters, each with their own stories. And yes, Keepers is inspired by real life. The novel is set in Australia between 1949-1950 and is a much dramatised and fictional derivation of the more mundane tale of my parents' early years together. Some of it is true, an awful lot is pure imagination, and what is fact and what is fiction only a few knows! As for the characters, many of them are based on real people, some still living, but I've played fast and loose with their personalities and motives. So far, no one has been upset if they recognise themselves!

Would you like to read the few paragraphs of the first chapter?

Do you design book cover for your novel or all you get it from the third party? Therefore, the self-publishing on Amazon has made too easy for all the author.

Cheryl Burman: My first book covers, for my middle grade fantasy trilogy, were terrible, but in 2018 I rewrote the books, gave them new titles and designed new covers. I'm happy with them now. The cover for Keepers was designed by a friend who is extremely talented. We did a swap – I edited their material, and they did my cover. I love it. I wanted something very different for my soon-to-be released book, River Witch, and in this case, I've paid a cover artist. It's a very rich and gorgeous cover and I hope will tempt people in! Amazon (and other) self-publishing platforms have indeed made it very easy for people to upload books, and there are some shocking covers out there, including some of my old ones!

Share us with your daily routine of writing, the best suited hours as per your experience and why?

Cheryl Burman: I walk first thing, and then do errands and chores. Normally, I get to my computer mid-morning but spend time on marketing matters, like answering interview questions! And of course, social media, both for fun and promotion. So writing time is normally in the afternoon. As I don't have a paying job, I don't need to write in the evening, which is the time for me and my husband to catch up on the day.

What project you are currently working on? Would you like to tell us more about it?

Cheryl Burman: In September, I will release River Witch, a magical realism/historical fantasy novel set where I live, in the Forest of Dean in the UK, on the banks of the River Severn. The protagonist, Hester, is a farmer's daughter who talks to the river, which she knows as Sabrina, goddess. Determined to follow in her great-grandmother's footsteps as a herbal healer, Hester persuades Aaron, a man powerful in this lore, to teach her. But he understands all too well Hester's relationship with the river and is reluctant to take her learning further – he's been there before with tragic results.

What if aspiring authors asks you “How to Plot A Novel?” What would be your take on this?

Cheryl Burman: I mentioned earlier that I'm not a detailed plotter. I start with a general idea of how the story should go, create a main character or two, and move it from there. There are many authors who plot every scene and chapter before they start, and I admire them greatly. I can't do that as I have to get into my characters' heads, really understand what they want and what drives them, before I can see what will happen next in the story. It all depends on how your brain works!

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