Tag Archive - Novel Structure

Crafting Opening Novel Scenes That Pack a Punch

Today’s guest post is by Jennifer Locke.

Novel beginnings are tough.

The writer faced with a blank document must ask herself question upon question.

  • How do I include relevant information regarding time and place without front-loading a lot of backstory?
  • Which key details will set the scene in the reader’s mind?
  • How can I jump right into the action, without leaving my readers completely lost, unmoored from the specifics of story?

We’ve heard all the no-nos. Continue Reading…

Your First 50 Pages—Pass or Fail?

The first fifty pages of your novel carry the heaviest burden for your story. The opening chapters are all about setup. Setup of characters, premise, tone, writing style, conflict, stakes, world/setting, and so much more.

Thousands of writers across the US are finishing a novel today—or at least trying to. For some committed to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), this was a first effort. Others have participated many times and have cranked out the semblance of a novel each of those years.

I imagine a lot of writers who signed up didn’t reach the finish line of 50,000 words. I recall how hard it was, writing my first novel thirty years ago. It took me almost a year, and I thought it was a masterpiece.

How wrong I was. 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…

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