12.40: Structuring a Novel

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard

What makes something a novel, rather than just a serialized collection of stuff that happens? How do we use structure to turn collections of stuff into something more cohesive? What tools do we use to outline, map, and/or plan our novel writing?

Reference Note: “Scene and sequel” comes to us from Dwight Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writerfirst published in 1965 (52 years ago.)

Credits: this episode was recorded in Cosmere House Studios by Dan Dan the Audioman Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Take a film or TV program, which you like, and which was NOT based on a book, and plot the novel that it would have been had it been a novel before being on screen.

Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta

14 thoughts on “12.40: Structuring a Novel”

  1. Thank you for the cast. I think the value here is when Mary, Dan, and Brandon talk about how they outline a book. It’s a nearly-nineteen minute cast, but the couple of minutes where we have that knowledge is really nice.

  2. One of the things Mary said came out a bit garbled. She mentioned that someone doesn’t have to be a POV character to get a character arc, that you can also do one with a *something something something.*

    Can anyone clarify?

    1. “…just because you’re giving another character a character arc doesn’t mean that they have to be a POV character, because you can do this with a single POV.”

    2. “- I do wanna be clear that, just because you’re giving another character a character arc doesn’t mean that they have to be a POV character. ‘Cause you can do this with a single POV
      -That’s true”

    3. I think you mean this line?

      [Mary] I do want to be clear that just because you’re giving another character a character arc doesn’t mean that they have to be a POV character. Because you can do this with a single POV.

      In other words, you can write your novel with a single POV protagonist/narrator, and still have secondary characters who grow and change during the story.

  3. “I do want to be clear that just because you’re giving another character a character-arc, doesn’t mean they have to be a POV character. ’cause you CAN do this with a single POV”

  4. It’s the original fantastic four! This time, talking about novels. What makes a novel a novel? Pacing, breaks, and breathers? Even beats for the emotional tick-tock of your novel? Yep, it’s all there, in the transcript now available in the archives and over here

    https://wetranscripts.dreamwidth.org/134778.html

    Ride that roller coaster, and enjoy the ups, the downs, and the loops! Write!

  5. This broadcast got me thinking about the origin story novel I want to write about my female main character from my first novel. As Dan was saying, a story goes somewhere and isn’t just a sequence of events, and it’s been worrying me that as currently envisioned, this novel of mine won’t go anywhere spectacular.

    But maybe what I’m working with is a coming of age story. So it’ll be ok if the point of arrival is my character’s re-embracing the calling she accepted at the beginning of her journey, but in a more enlightened, heartfelt, and experienced way.

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