Novel Kicks Writing Room: Structure and The Eight Point Arc

Novel Kicks Writing RoomThe structure of your novel is one of the most important things in novel writing.

It’s something I have been really trying to focus on whilst trying to write my first book.

The following is what is called the ‘eight point arc.’ I came across it in ‘Writing a Novel and Getting it Published’ by Nigel Watts. I’ve found this structure suggestion incredibly helpful and I feel it’s worth going though the following list and applying your current work in progress.

Stasis – this is the ‘every day’ in which your story is set. For example, Kat in District Twelve at the beginning of the Hunger Games or Harry Potter in Privet Drive. What is this in your book?

Trigger – this is the thing that happens that kick starts events for your character. This may be something that is beyond the control of your character.

The Quest – this could be something bad for the main character like breaking up with a spouse, loosing a job or a loved one or it could be winning the lottery.

Surprise – this is the obstacles to overcome; the conflicts and the hard choices. It could also include pleasant events but predictable should try to be avoided.

Critical Choice – This is where the character has to make a choice and we see what they are made of. These choices are often hard to make and overcome.

Climax – This is the point where the tension is the highest. For example, the closing argument in a court case followed by the verdict.

Reversal – This is the result of the choice your character has made which is working toward the resolution. For example, Rapunzel discovering she’s the princess and standing up to Mother Gothel in Tangled.

Resolution – this is a return to the stasis but where the character has changed or learnt something. The story at this point should have reached a resolution.

I really do recommend this arc when structuring a novel. If you’ve not already got a copy of ‘Writing a Novel and Getting it Published’ by Nigel Watts and Stephen May, it’s a great one to get. It’s probably the one book I’ve found the most helpful.

(Click on the link to see How To Write a Novel on Amazon UK.)


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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