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Story Arc for The Key to Markree Castle

Story Arc for The Key to Markree Castle

Let’s see, beginning, middle and end. Done! Whew, glad I got that out of the way.

I should do a story outline for our book. Ya think?

I don’t usually do this, but it’s a good practice and I probably should. — quote from most people on the planet

We’re smack dab in full swing cranking out The Key to Markree Castle and although chances are good* that I’m a creative genius wunderkind, I have been thinking it might help if I had some sort of outline and didn’t completely let the creative goddesses trickle down from their nests in the sky, through my body and out my fingers onto my keyboard.

I’ve heard that some writers do just let it go and see what happens. It’s been a complete blast so far, I have to admit. I sit down to write and then I just write and as I write, the story just comes to me. Characters appear, they have conversations and spooky scenes are formed. If I could mash this up and make a pill out of it, I’m sure I could sell it for $84 a bottle.

But I want each book to be better than the previous one. I want the story to make sense, to have a beginning, middle and end. I want to keep the pace moving–it’s a marathon, not a sprint. But I need water stations and mile markers and protein bar stops. I need an outline, a plan, a roadmap.

The book is going to be published on Dec. 17, 2015. Today is November 9, 2015. Better late than never. This is going to be a work in progress and it might go all the way to the beginning of December. That’s OK, ideally it will be a useful reference.

The Secret of Markree Castle (Book #1)


4 young boys (ages 9 and 11) are at one of their parent’s wedding at a castle in Ireland. There aren’t any other kids there, the boys aren’t really invited to any of the functions, and they have a nanny to watch over them. Except she cancels. So the boys are on their own and there’s no time for a replacement. “4 boys, 3 days, 1 castle. You do the math.” This can’t end well. The dads have a serious talk with them and tell them to ‘not get into trouble.’ Yeah, that’ll happen.

The Key to Markree Castle (Book #2)


Things quickly got out of hand at the castle and the boys have committed to help Alastar, the young barman, get into a secret room under the castle where something has been hidden for hundreds of years. He needs the boys because he can’t do it himself and it just happens to be the night of the full moon when the light is right and they can gain access. So much could go wrong (and probably will).


  1. Boys downstairs, learning more about castle and what they’re going to do.
  2. Night never ends …
  3. Saturday: breakfast, soccer (ball into tunnel … !), nap (?), learn more about castle, find clues,
  4. Saturday night: down again with Alastar. Where’s Killian? Does it all go according to plan? Magic backfires. Does Dan disappear? Where does he end up?
  5. Sunday: now what?

Basic Notes

  • Li & Lu have to survive because we have at least 6 more books until Li is 18.
  • Dec & Dan might return in a future book, so I don’t want to kill them off (sorry for all of the killing, I do live with 2 boys who like adventure novels and James Bond–where at least 27 people die per film).
  • The boys have some magical powers, but they need to be subtle. Also, they should “backfire” or not always work quite right.
  • Friends and enemies. Who are the good guys (Alastar)? And bad guys (Killian)? Others (Margaret)?

Question to self: am I “supposed” to map out each chapter, sketch out what happens and try to stick to the general arc of that story?

Honest note to late-night self: I don’t actually KNOW what’s going to happen. I’m not really kidding with the story seeping into my fingers every day. How am I supposed to map out what I don’t know yet? It’s like mapping out the route over the mountain pass, but I’ve never been over that mountain pass and … I don’t have a map.

  • Possible: wing it
  • Impossible: wing perfection
  • Repossible: wing it with a divining rod

* The statistics say that I’m a 3 in 3,298,900,274 favorite to be that genius wunderind. I did the math.


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