Episode 44 – How to Plan a Novel

Most successful novels abide by the rules of story structure if they are going to hold the reader’s attention. They generally have 3 Acts:

  • Beginning – inciting incident and the point of no return.
  • Middle build – the protagonist faces a series of challenges and obstacles.
  • Ending – the protagonist succeeds or fails or a combination of both.

Some authors use structure to plan out a novel from the start, while others use it to edit a story after they have the first draft. Some knowledge of story structure is innate, but a deeper understanding of what makes stories work will improve any novel.

The writer needs to tap into their creativity both in writing into the dark and during the planning process.

Suppose you get stuck while writing. Try a different method. What have you got to lose? At the very least you might find out something about yourself.

For more information and to try out lots of different structures, check out  story planner.

Episode 43 – To-Do or Not-to-Do NaNoWriMo

As November comes upon us, Mariëlle and I talk about the pros and cons of committing to NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. As an advocate for NaNo, Mariëlle tries to convince me to give it a go this year.

“What people say they want and what they’re willing to work their ass off to get are two different things.” Hugh MacLeod


A large part of getting where you want to be involves:

1) knowing why you want to get there, and

2) being realistic about how you’re going to get there.

Grab your journal or open a new document on your computer. Set your timer to five minutes for each of the following questions:

What do I want?

Why do I want it?

What do I need to do to get there?

Now you’re clear on this, have another look.

Is this realistic?

How much will you have to sacrifice?

Is that worth it?

If yes, go for it. If no, take another 10–15 minutes to reflect on what would make your goal more realistic and what needs to be adjusted for it to be worth it, too.