Have you had what you believe is a great idea for a novel but seem to by starting and stopping more than you are progressing? You are not alone. Many would-be authors never get past the dreaming stage because they haven’t learned how to structure their novel.
As a novelist, you need a number of factors such as:
- Who is your central character, your protagonist?
- Who is the man opposition character, your antagonist?
- What is the genre of your novel? Is it a thriller, romance, historical, mystery, or science fiction?
- Where is the novel set, both in location but in time? The ancient past, the near past, the future?
- What does your character want? To be married? To lead a country? To become the last starfighter? To save the planet. To be the richest person in the world?
- What is the inciting incident?In it escaped your attention, every novel, sooner or later (and preferably within a few pages) has an inciting incident that leads them into a “new world,” filled with promises but also obstacles.
- What fundamental change must your protagonist go through to meet his goals?
- What are the crisis points that force your protagonist to change?
- What is the point where your protagonist is at his lowest point?If your novel is about a general or Jedi knight, they should lose a major battle and feel totally defeated before trying one more time and succeeding.
- What is the resolution point which turns everything around and leads to a satisfactory conclusion?
Without even realizing it, you’ve just learned about novel structure, all of which are key elements of our successful novelist-recognized workbook for writing a novel.
More about our workbook for writing a novel
Our workbook teaches you the essential elements that are contained in almost all novels.
Yes, there will be different ways to approach the novel. Different twists and turns in the plot, but essentially all novels have a main character (someone you can root for)
an antagonist (someone who stands in the way of the protagonist getting what he wants.
Also, all novels have an exciting incident.
Did you ever notice how many novels feature someone reluctant to change? Almost all of us are like this. We would prefer not to have to change, but rather to have life remain as it is in our own, comfortable little bubble.
The inciting incident forces your main character into change. All of us, but even more protagonists in novels have character flaws they need to overcome in order to achieve our goals.
The inciting incident launches the personality of the protagonist into a new world that fate (rather than personal choice) seems to have launched him or her into.
Our hero, facing obstacle after obstacle is forced to face these character flaws and change.
Another thing that our novel-writing workbook teaches you is on building conflict.
Even the sexiest character such as James Bond in Ian Fleming’s models experiences constant conflict.
Sure, James ran into plenty of women who succumbed to his bedroom charms. But seconds later, the same woman he bedded may have pulled a gun on him, shot him in the neck with a tranquilizer dart, or poured a poisonous snake in his room.
In fact, everything that could go wrong did to James Bond, and that’s something that most amateur novelists take a while to learn. Conflict makes a novel good, not everything that goes right.
It’s only towards the end (if it is a happy ending novel) will the world and your character get their just rewards. And if it’s not a happy ending, perhaps the resolution to your story is setting up how something worse may befall your character or the world in the future.
How to structure your novel
Our workbook won’t write your novel for you. No workbook can do that. But it will help you organize your novel into manageable chunks.
We suggest you start with a rough draft title (don’t worry, 99 percent of the time it will) and then create a logline for your novel.
What’s a logline? It’s a short, roughly 40 words or less description that describes your entire book.
Here’s an example of a killer logline from John Le Carré’s novel, Tinker, Tailor Soldier, Spy:
The British Secret Service asks a retired spymaster to find a soviet mole who must be one of his former protégés. He can trust no one as he tries to discover who the traitor is.
Your own logline does not need to be as brilliant as this one is, but definitely begin with a logline.
Next, after you’ve completed your logline, expand it to an entire paragraph, adding more detail.
Then expand it again, to include several detailed paragraphs.
You may want to make a list of the essential elements of your novel found in the workbook such as main character, his or her antagonist, exciting event, the goals of each, the worst possible setbacks and so forth.
By expanding, and expanding again, you may wind up with a 5 page that is quite detailed and will allow you to write your novel without getting sidelined.
How to write?
Handwriting a novel is preferred by many writers. Why you should write by hand?
Most writers say that the answer to Why you should write by hand comes from experience. Handwriting a novel simply uses a different part of the brain than typing on a computer.
Try it. At least for your first draft. We think you’ll find it enhances your creativity greatly.
Practice wrting often
Another expert tip is to practice writing often. Freelance writing jobs not only pay moderately well, but freelance writing jobs teach you the skills to write neatly and cleanly.
Also, read, read, read
If you want to become a good writer, read a lot by authors you find write cleanly and with precision.
Jack Higgins, comes to mind as a great novelist who writes exciting books but tends to write cleanly and precisely.
We make novel-writing make sense with our workbook, and we encourage you to try it out. Learning structure is 90 percent of the battle.