Tag Archives: Story Structure

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

12.36: Structuring a Mid-Length Piece

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard

Larger than a short story, smaller than a novel… there’s quite a bit of space between those two thresholds, and in this episode we discuss the ways in which we go about filling that space with a well-structured story.

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 your idea for a novel, and structure it as a novella.

Hazardous Tales by Nathan Hale

12.25: Hiring an Editor, with Callie Stoker

Your Hosts: Howard and Dan, with special guest Callie Stoker

Callie Stoker joined Howard and Dan at the World Horror convention to answer our questions about hiring an editor, which is part of the process by which self-published authors build the team of people who will make the manuscript far better than they can make it by themselves.

 

Credits: Mastered by Alex Jackson

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Finish your story. Go back and remove 1000 words. Now go back AGAIN and remove ANOTHER 1000 words. Keep doing this until the story falls apart. Now edit it and ADD 1000 words.

Vicious, by V. E. Schwab, narrated by Noah Michael Levine

12.20: Retrofitting Structure into a First Draft

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Mary Anne, and Wesley

We’re speaking again, at least in part, to discovery writers. In this case, we’re talking about how to take a non-outlined work and apply a structure to it in revisions.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Andrew Twiss, and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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Identify the promises you made in the first 10% of your story. Color-code them. Now color code your chapters and/or scenes, mapping them to the promises made early on.

City of Miracles, by Robert Jackson Bennett

Writing Excuses 10.25: What Makes a Scene?

What defines a scene? How do we, as writers, structure things using scenes? When does a scene begin, when does it end, and when has it gone on too long?

We each do this a little differently, and obviously the definitions and processes will vary widely across mediums. In this episode we talk about how we do this, and we make reference to Scene/Sequel format, the MICE quotient, and pacing.

 

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Look at the next few scenes you need to write, and identify their plot function, identify what your main character’s goal is. Now consider where the starting and stopping points can be placed to best serve those elements.

The Devil’s Only Friend, by Dan Wells, narrated by Kirby Heyborne

This will be our Project-in-Depth book in August, so dive in now!

Writing Excuses 10.13: Where is My Story Going?

Any discussion of story structure must necessarily take a look at that big, long bit between the beginning and the end, that piece where almost everything actually happens. In this episode we talk about the middles of stories, and how formulaic structures will help you get them to do all of the things that you need for them to do, and this can be done without the story feeling formulaic.

We got things a bit out of order here — this was supposed to be the SECOND episode of March, rather than the fifth. When Brandon says “two weeks ago” he means “four weeks ago.” Sorry for the confusion.

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Your writing exercise: Take the reverse engineered outline from a month ago, and move a side plot to the main plot.

Words of Radiance, by Brandon Sanderson, narrated by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading