Tag Archive - Novel Structure

Nailing Your One-Sentence Story Concept

I’m launching my new online video course this month, so we’ve been taking a look at key elements novelists need to nail in order to construct a solid story. Whether you “pants it” or plot (see my recent post on that), your story concept has to be terrific to be worth not only your time (writing it) but also your reader’s time (reading it).

How can you expect anyone to devote ten or more of their precious hours to reading your novel if the concept is blah? Not a nice thing to subject anyone to. I, for my part, don’t want to waste anyone’s time, and I certainly don’t want my novels used to help put people to sleep (I’ve watched that malaise befall my husband many a night, but, thankfully, never when reading my novels).

I’m going to pull from a blog post I wrote a couple of years ago, when I was first gathering material for my upcoming (now published and very popular) book Layer Your Novel. I’m hoping you’ll see the value of taking the time to work on your story concept to ensure it’s a terrific one.

Be sure to check out my online course, too, if you want to master novel structure. Layering, starting with the ten key scenes, is the ticket. Believe me, I’ve seen many a novelist use this method to great success (and I hear a lot of praise for it week in and week out). Continue Reading…

The Burden of Your First Fifty Pages

I critique a lot of first chapters of novels. Having written twenty novels, I can attest to how difficult it is to craft those openings scenes. So much has to be included to set up the world of the characters, the premise, the tone and writing style, and the opening situation the protagonist is in. Yet, so much has to be left out in order to avoid backstory and info dumps that stall action and pacing.

It takes a lot of time and effort to master opening scenes.

These scenes are some of the most critical ones in your novel, so it behooves me to share what I wrote in a post a couple of years back. And I would like to encourage you to take advantage of my special discounted price on my fifty-page critique.

I do dozens of fifty-page critiques every year. I don’t know the exact count, but it’s what I encourage writers to start with when requesting help with their WIP (whether partially done or completed).

Why fifty and not one hundred? Why not twenty pages? Continue Reading…

A New Online Video Course to Help You Write That Novel

I’m not the only one who says that writing a novel is a difficult task. Even if you’ve written a dozen or more novels, it’s still challenging. There is no easy formula . . . but there are some time-tested rules regarding story structure.

I’ve been writing about story structure for years on this blog, and I’ve probably written half a million words or more on the topic.

Let me pull some bits from earlier posts to share with you today, as preface to introducing you to my new online video course: The Ten Key Scenes That Frame Up Your Novel.

If you’re like many fiction writers, you often have no clue if you are on the right track. If your characters are terrific. If your conflict and stakes are big and explosive. If your scenes are sturdily built and in the right places.

If you’ve been following my blog and reading my Writer’s Toolbox books, you know that novel writing is complex and challenging.

And you really have to nail structure. Continue Reading…

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