Tag Archives: structure

How To Plan Your Novel Using The Three-Act Structure

Writer's Blog

Three-act-structure_1

Writing a novel is hard, especially if you’ve never done it before. You’ve spent hours researching, building your world and becoming an expert on your characters. Now you’re ready for the next step: planning (also known as plotting).

While some people like to write organically (letting the story take you in whatever direction feels right), having a detailed outline can help make the novel-writing process a lot less daunting and overwhelming. But how exactly do you plan a novel?

Essentially, there is no right or wrong way to outline your novel. Each story is different and needs to be told in a different way.

However, if you need a bit more guidance on how to plot out the next bestseller you know you have inside you, the three-act structure might be for you.

Defining The Three-Act Structure

The three-act structure is a popular screenwriting technique that revolves around constantly creating set-ups, conflicts and resolutions. With this structure…

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How to establish plot points in your memoir

Monica Lee

blogging-bonanza-bugAs we work our way through the month-long blogging bonanza celebrating the launch on March 28 of Truth, Dare, Double Dare, Promise or Repeat: On Finding the Meaning of “Like” in 1982, we’ll begin each week with Structure Sunday where I’ll share some important elements to consider when writing a memoir. Today, I’m examining how to structure your story.

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Absence doesn’t make the story grow fonder when it comes to writing.

In the middle of writing Truth, Dare, Double Dare, Promise or Repeat: On Finding the Meaning of “Like” in 1982 (literally, the middle — I had 34,000 words on paper), I got stuck. I didn’t know where I was going, and I was losing track of where I had been.

How does a writer get back into a half-finished work and make sense of it?

For me, it was an outline. Some writers like to free-write without…

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BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

HamletHamlet realizes his story is not “my dad was murdered” but instead, “I will find out who killed my dad and punish them.”

Many of us write a memoir or a personal essay after, around, or during a dramatic event in our lives. Cancer. Death of a loved one. Running a marathon. Climbing Everest. And many memoirs and essays remain unpublished because a dramatic event isn’t enough.

Think about it–any newspaper front page is covered in dramatic situations, worthy of reporting but mostly conveying information. The emotional reaction of the reader is grounded in their own experience meeting the facts, rather than empathy for the protagonist, or a desire to see them “win.”

Car Crash Claims Three

is a dramatic situation. It’s not a dramatic journey unless the reporter goes for a larger picture, and the larger picture has to include a protagonist taking a dramatic action.

Crash Claims Three:…

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What Exactly is Poor Writing?

Quoth The Wordsmith

What Exactly is Poor Writing?Any of you who have editing experience can back me up when I say that it is a very tiring process, especially when the piece you are reviewing is poorly written. And while the perceived quality of writing is subjective, there are a few key indicators that it isn’t just you, that the writing itself is the problem.

Poor writing doesn’t necessarily mean bad spelling and questionable grammar. It can refer to the structure and style as well. When reviewing your work, or that of others, be sure to pay attention to the following things to see if the piece just doesn’t mesh with your preferred style, or if it really does need to be reworked.

Beginnings. Whether it’s a blog post, a short story, or a paragraph of copy, every piece of writing needs to have an opening line at the very least, if not an entire paragraph…

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The Lovely Bones: Structure In Memoir

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

A Halloween-themed blog post from Janice Gary:

GHOSTSYou could say I’m a ghostwriter. All memoirists are. We commune with the spirits of the past, inhabit old haunts, sift through the bones of the people we once were (and once knew) in an attempt to reanimate what was and illuminate what is.

Our ghosts are real. Or at least as real as we remember them. One thing we cannot do is make stuff up. And we don’t need to. We have more than enough material to conjure life on the page. But that’s part of the problem. What do you do with it all – all that experience, all that emotion?  What spooks those of us who write from life the most is this dilemma: how to wrangle this vast, unwieldy life of ours into a well-shaped story.

Fiction writers have the old tried and true (and yes, trite) basic plot triangle…

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Character v Plot: A False Dichotomy

Cockburn's Eclectics

20141217_1 Mira John (CC / Flickr)

Spend any time around writers’ groups and there are certain conversations you can’t avoid having. Topping the list are debates over genre definitions, discussion of the comparative merits of traditional and self-publishing, and mystification about how certain authors have become wildly successful in spite of their poor writing. Up there with them is whether characters or plot are more important. In writing, as in life, it’s always worth being a little sceptical when something is presented as a dichotomy. It begs the question of whether it’s really a choice between one or the other. I’ve previously described characters and plot as two of the three legs of the tripod a story stands on, and I’m going to argue that the tripod needs both unless it wants to fall on its face.

Characters must shine

I’ll start by quoting Lee Child’s foreword to his debut…

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