The 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.)
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.