Tag Archive - Protagonist with a Goal

Three Aspects of Your Book’s “Aboutness”: Goal, Question, and Premise

Today’s guest post is by Barbara Linn Probst.

 So what’s your book about?

We’ve all had that question put to us by friends, relatives, agents, or other writers.  It’s a reasonable question for them to ask.

“Well, it’s the story of a woman who . . .”

“It tells what happens when . . .”

Nope. That’s the setup. It’s not what the book is about.

Coined by R. A. Fairthorne in 1969, “aboutness” is a term used in linguistics, philosophy of language, and the informational sciences to convey both intention and content—that is, the aim and subject of a text. Continue Reading…

Mastering the 4 Key Elements to Support Your Novel

Since we’ve been exploring masterful writing over these last few months (and will continue to do so), I want to bring you back to the basics of novel structure. Why? Because all the masterful writing in the world won’t go very far if you don’t nail structure.

As you probably know (if you’ve been following my blog awhile), I write a lot about structure. And that’s because it’s crucial if you want to write a solid story. It’s as simple as that.

Every writing coach with a lick of sense is going to tell you essentially the same things I do. Maybe they use different terminology or describe concept or premise differently. Those are moot points.

What matters is that you understand how important structure is. And where to start.

That’s why I like using the building construction metaphor. You have to have a sturdy foundation for your building that meets established and proven building codes. A novel works on the same principles. Continue Reading…

Revisiting the Four Primary Pillars of Novel Construction

Over the last five-plus months we’ve been exploring the four primary, essential components of novel building, which I label in this course “corner pillars.” I spent a bit of time on these because they truly are the foundation of your novel—and if those four pillars aren’t structurally sound, your novel will collapse. Really and truly.

If you are joining in late to this course, all you have to do is go back to the first post the first week of January and work your way through these four pillars. My advice to anyone wanting to craft a really great novel that stands up to scrutiny and the test of time is to take the time to ensure that these four key elements in your novel are thoroughly developed and don’t have any weak spots. Continue Reading…

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