Tag Archive - 10-20-30 Scene Builder

3 Steps to Successfully Outlining Your Novel

Outlining your novel in some fashion is one of the best ways to ensure you have a solid story structure. For those of you who’ve been following my blog awhile, you know I’m a huge proponent of structure—and I’ll dare to say that any great writing instructor worth his or her salt would agree.

Because novels are so complex, it makes sense to lay out a blueprint. Face it: few people have the talent or aptitude to wing it when it comes to writing a solid story without first plotting carefully. And—I’m being honest here—every single successful author I personally know who “pantses” through the writing process suffers from varying degrees of frustration, aggravation, and huge blocks of wasted time.

Seriously. I know authors who write, and discard, numerous full drafts of a novel, taking months of precious time to arrive at the solid plot. I know other pantsers who say that writing novels is a painful, grueling process that they almost hate as much as chopped liver. Continue Reading…

Layering 10-20-30 Scenes in Your Novel

We’ve spent quite a few weeks taking a look at the ten key scenes a variety of writers have offered to share with readers of Live Write Thrive. As many respected writing instructors teach, it’s crucial that novelists get the important scenes worked out and laid out in the right place to ensure a solid framework for a story.

That won’t make up for a weak premise or boring characters. For this ten-key-scene framework to hold up your story, you need a strong premise. You need a compelling character going after a goal in a passionate way. You need high stakes and lots of significant conflict. And to make your story memorable and one that will resonate with readers around the world and across decades, you need strong universal themes.

These are the four corner pillars of novel construction I drive home to writers year after year. Too many novels written by beginning writers don’t have a worthy premise—a premise worth writing hundreds of pages about. A premise a writer can or should expect readers to want to devote ten or more hours of their life to. Continue Reading…

10 Key Scenes of a Mythological Fantasy Novel

Over the last months, we’ve been looking at the ten key foundational scenes you need for your novel. I shared a couple of examples of what these scenes might look like, and you could take just about any best seller and pencil in those ten key scenes and note how they are in just the right place.

I sent out a call for writers to create a chart of their published novel’s ten key scenes. Many took me up on this, and all said it was both fun and challenging. I hope our look at many of these charts submitted by published authors has shown you how helpful and easy this can be.

I’d like to challenge all of you to lay out your scenes using this chart—whether you are just brainstorming your novel idea or have already written or published it. Doing this will save you perhaps weeks or months of time as you struggle to figure out how to tell your great story. Continue Reading…

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