Tag Archive - Novel Structure

What Writers Can Learn from Fred the One-Eyed Cat

Today I want to talk about a one-eyed orange tabby cat named Fred. Some of you are saying, “Oh, yeah, I LOVE Fred!” And others are saying, “Uh . . . Fred who?”

Why should I spend time blogging about Fred? Is he some famous kitty? A character in great literature? No, quiet (well, he does meow) Fred is just a cat who has a role in the terrific movie Gifted.

But not just any role. Some might argue that Fred is a secondary character in the story, and while that may be true, he is actually a carefully crafted plot device for the story. And that’s why I’m bringing him up in this post.

While he rightly is a participant in what could be labeled accurately as a literal and iconic “pet the cat” (or “save the cat”) moment, he has a much more important part to play in Gifted. Continue Reading…

Write Your Story Synopsis with a Plug-and-Play Tool

Todays’ guest post is by Beth Barany.

There are brainstorming exercises you can take to plan your novel that are fun, take a short amount of time, and keep your enthusiasm up.

In my Plan Your Novel: 30-Day Writing Challenge course, we teach an accordion method that encourages you to start small and expand your story ideas outward.

In this post, I share one of the essential tools on story planning: how to write your story synopsis in a simple way: with a plug-and-play tool.

(For a list of other essential novel planning tools click HERE.) Continue Reading…

How You Can Avoid Making Structural Mistakes in Your Novel

I’ve spent more than three decades writing novels. And at first I had no clue what I was doing.

Like many people, I think it would be a cinch to write a novel. I read voraciously, so why wouldn’t I just intuitively know how to construct a novel?

This is what a whole lot of people think. But perhaps you know the truth by now: writing a terrific novel is complex, like building a house. You have to have the “big picture” in mind the while time you are plotting and writing. And that’s like spinning a dozen plates at one time.

It’s doable, but it does take practice.

So after spending three decades dropping a lot of plates, I spent a ton of time tearing the novel-writing process apart. During those years I attended plenty of writing conferences and retreats and workshops. I read lots of books on the craft, and when the Internet became part of daily life, I started reading blog posts and listening to podcasts and doing all I could to get novel construction under my belt. Continue Reading…

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