So you are ready to write your novel. Excellent. Are you prepared? The last thing you want when you sit down to write your first draft is to lose momentum. Have you figured out the key traits of your characters so that you know how they will act (and react) in each scene? Have you thought through the climax of your narrative so that you can lay all the groundwork to get there? Have you researched the setting of your story so you can make it feel authentic? Use this guide before you start writing to work out your narrative arc, plan out your key plot points, flesh out your characters, and begin to build your world. Then, when you begin your writing journey, you will have a map to follow along the way.
Sometimes, narrative and exposition are used synonymously to explain parts of a novel that “narrate” information for the reader. They are, in fact, different devices used to give the reader information. Used appropriately, narrative and exposition affect the pacing of your story.
Scenes are the rising and falling action, and the soft moments in between, that move your story forward. They have a couple of basic purposes: - They establish time and place. They give the reader a marker on where and when things are happening. - They help develop character. Even if the scene is pure action, you learn about the character’s motivations by his or her decisions, choices, and actions. - They let characters set goals. Without goals to achieve, characters have no reason to act or emote. Readers want to know what’s at stake. - They allow the action to rise or fall. This movement is what carries your reader forward. - They let you crank up the conflict. Without conflict, you won’t have tension. And without tension, your story is boring.
It’s the fear of every writer: writing a story your reader CAN put down. No writer wants to think their story is boring, but sometimes it is. Fortunately, there are only a few reasons stories are boring. Once you know what they are, you can make sure that your reader will keep reading.
Similes can be found in all types of writing, from journalism to fiction to advertising. They’re creative ways to bring more attention and clarity to your meaning than straight narrative. If you want to give your reader a thoughtful mental image while they’re reading, a simile is a great place to start. When you compare your main character to an animal or even an inanimate object like a giant sequoia, you’re exposing your reader to another way of looking at something that’s fresh and new.
The Enneagram details 9 internal levels of developmentwhere your main character can find him or herself at any point in time. A person’s personality isn’t static, meaning that it fluctuates depending on whether they are under duress or some good fortune happens. Each of these 9 levels of development represents a major paradigm shift in awareness, meaning your main character changes—for better or worse. Have a look at the different levels and see if you can place your main character(s) at the beginning of your story and where you want them to be at the end.
Plot is what happens to your main character (MC). Things happen and your MC has to deal with or resolve these issues: they receive a mysterious message, they come home to find their spouse in bed with someone else, their house burns down, etc. One thing happens, then another, then another, and each event leads your character further along your narrative arc toward the climax. Plot is what gives us action. The narrative arc, working in tandem with the character arc, gives us the reaction.