How To Build Your Novel

Here is a quick guide to basic novel writing. Simiar to any 3 act play or story, you have a begning, middle and end. Think of it in acts. This structure can be used to build a scne within a chapter, to build a chater and even to build the rentire your complete novel. All have begining,middle and end.

The Problem –

Opening Hook –

Plot point 1

establish Goal/Motivation/Conflict –

The Struggle –

Plot point 2

new info for protagonist move to pro-activity –

Plot point 3

quiet before the storm –

The Resolution –


worst thing that could happen/soul crush –


resolves black moment/hook to next chapter –

Continuance –

hook to next chapter/act/scene etc.

In a bit more detail

Act 1/begining

  1. The hook – quickly grab readers’ attention and pull reader into story
    1. Establish at least one story question
    1. Begin with action or dialogue
    1. Begin with protagonist
    1. Choose a starting point as late as possible, important time of change as possible
  2. Backstory – section that includes characters’ history and what we need to understand what is going on
    1. History that brought the character to this point
    1. Action that is self-explanatory to understand protagonist
  3. Trigger – what comes next
    1. One specific thing that happens to the protagonist
    1. Attacks the protagonists flaw
    1. Something that happens to the protagonist

Act 2 – plot struggle of the protagonist – failing over and over./middle

  • Crisis – moment when protagonist is overcome by flaw
    • Internal moment
    • Protagonist doesn’t realize what his flaw is
    • Emotions carry through crisis
  • Struggle – scene & sequel
    • Set stakes and up stakes
    • Give protagonist series of plot complications as things get worse
    • Black moment when protagonist gives up hope
  • Epiphany like the trigger in act 1 – opposite of crisis –
    • Brief internal moment (inside protagonist head)
    • Protagonist realizes his flaw (epiphany)
    • Decides to change
    • In tragedy protagonist fails to change

Act 3 -solving the problem/end

  • Plan – begins when epiphany ends
    • All plot (action)
    • Protagonist couldn’t have done before changing epiphany
    • Plan might not work
    • May be successive plans that don’t Work
    • Plan leads to climax
  • Confrontation/climax – when antagonist is defeated
    • Protagonist is active character
    • Antagonist is defeated by his own flaw
    • Keep protagonist sympathetic
    • Severity of antagonist defeat consisted with weight of story (how serious the circumstances are)
    • Antagonist may be rehabilitated
    • In a tragedy protagonist is defeated by flaw
  • Ending/denouement – tie up loose ends – inevitable but not predictable
    • Resolution
    • Circular
    • Reversal
    • Bitter sweet
    • Open
    • Cliff hanger
    • Twist
    • Revelation
    • Monologue

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