Tag Archive - Four Corner Pillars of Novel Construction

Make Me Like Your Protagonist or I’ll Stop Reading

We’re continuing our look at the second corner pillar of novel constructionprotagonist with a goal. Last week we explored how our main character must have a visible goal, and paired with that plot goal is a spiritual one, which is tied closely with the character’s core need. Both goals are “resolved” at the climax of the novel.

Why do I say “resolved” instead of reached? Because the hero may fail to reach his goals—and that might be the point of your novel and your intent. You’re the author; you get to decide that. In a post-modern-style novel, a protagonist may not only fail to reach her goal, she may not change or learn from the ordeals she’s been through, which would be sad, but, hey—that’s life, right? And that could be the structure of a strongly built novel. It all depends on your theme and the take-home message you mean to leave with your reader. Continue Reading…

Constructing the Two Goals for the Protagonist in Your Novel

In these first posts in our year-long course, we’re exploring the four corner support pillars in novel construction. These four pillars are crucial and should be soundly built before the rest of the novel elements are worked in. My experience in both writing and critiquing novels has taught me that without these four elements solidly built, a novel will collapse. Sometimes on the first page. Oftentimes, I’m sad to say.

Writing a novel is complex. Unfortunately, many people think they can just dive in and write without much preparation. They’ve read a lot of novels, they say. Isn’t that all you need to know how a novel “works”? No, it’s not. Continue Reading…

A Compelling Novel Centers On the Protagonist’s Goal

Do you want to write a compelling story? Think of the word compel. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary has a great definition: “to drive or urge forcefully; to cause to do or occur by overwhelming pressure.”

Have you ever read a novel that drove you forcefully to turn page after page? That caused you, by overwhelming pressure, to neglect your chores, your dinner, your kids, in order to get to that last page to see how the book ended? If that’s the kind of novel you want to build, then you need to be sure all the elements of your story work together for one main purpose. What purpose? Continue Reading…

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