Tag Archive - Turning Points

The 5 Turning Points in Your Novel

Almost every great story has five turning points. Movie, play, novel—regardless of genre. Traditional story structure goes way back to ancient storytellers sitting by the fire and regaling listeners with their tales. While we didn’t live back then, we can assume their stories had these essential five turning points. They’re the foundation of practically ever story we’ve ever heard.

If you’re writing fiction, you need to know what these turning points are. While short stories don’t often conform to this structure, you will see it sometimes. But if you’re writing a novel, this post’s for you.

Turning Point #1:“Opportunity” Knocks

Turning Point 1: “Opportunity.” Yes, this is the inciting incident. Michael Hauge puts it so nicely: “An event occurs that creates desire in the protagonist. Reader gets a glimpse of their longing or need.”

Ah: core need. How often I harp on this. Protagonists (and all main characters) need motivation. We do things for a reason, and your protagonist needs a strong reason to chase after her goal. We bond with characters whose needs are clear. We see what they care about, what they’re passionate about, what they love to do, what they believe in. But underneath all that is the need. A basic, maybe even primal need.

Every great story has this. Scarlett O’Hara needs love. She sure hasn’t a clue what it is or how to get  it. But it’s her core need. Continue Reading…

The First 10 Scenes You Need to Plot for Your Novel

Now that we’ve spent weeks looking at most of the key scenes you need in your novel and that will form the foundation for your entire story, we’re ready to look at the “10” in my 10-20-30 Scene Builder concept. These are the first ten scenes you will do well to lock in first.

Of course, if you haven’t taken the time to develop a strong concept with a kicker, the protagonist and his goal, the conflict with high stakes, and the themes with heart, you should hold off until you do so.

You can take my online video course to understand fully what those four essential corner pillars of novel structure are. Just enroll at cslakin.teachable.com and then click on the free course. I want you to nail this! Also think about studying my 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction and use the workbook to flesh this all out. Then you’ll be ready to dive into laying out all these scenes. Continue Reading…

The 5 Key Turning Points in Your Novel

Last week we took a look at the first of five key turning points novelists need to establish in their story. I’m going to be giving you the first layer of my 10-20-30 Scene Builder concept, and these first ten scenes are the foundation and sheer walls of your story.

If you frame up your story first with these ten scenes, you can add the next ten, and the next, building layers and filling in cracks.

Is the Jar Full Yet?

Have you ever seen anyone fill a jar with rocks and ask, “Is the jar full now?” Teachers love to do this with their young students. The students say yes, it’s full, but then the teacher pours in pebbles, which fill in the spaces between the rocks. “Is it full yet?” the teacher asks.

And so it goes. After the pebbles, sand is poured in, to fill the tiniest spaces yet. But the jar isn’t full! The last element added is water. And once water somehow finds space and fills to the brim, the jar is now declared full. Continue Reading…

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