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Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story (Helping Writers Become Authors Book 3) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 326 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top customer reviews
KM Weiland systematically goes through the macro- and micro-structure of the novel. First, she tells us meticulously about the architecture of the three-act plan stories and all the important elements of it, e.g. first plot point, inciting event, climax, resolution. Then, she writes about the structure and dynamics of the scene and the two types scenes and their variations. Finally, she discusses the micro-structure at the level of sentences and the common signs of the clunky prose.
I have started following Katie's blog for writers, Wordplay, years ago and I think I've learned from her most of the techniques described here before I even started reading the book.
"Structuring Your Novel" is a distilled and well-organised digest of dozens of Wordplay blogposts and KM Weiland is definitely the right person to give us her expert opinion. She is a successful historical/speculative fiction writer, so a lot of teaching comes from her own experience.
I congratulate the author with this new brilliant guide for writers, I'm sure it will help many of us become better writers.
He makes the structural parts a novel interesting to learn about, like the characters he tells you to write about, that you should care enough about them to describe them well. He obviously cares about the structural parts of the novel because of the powers they hold, such as propelling the reader forward to want to know what happens next to the characters. Foreshadowing is another structural element that Weiland discusses early in the book.
Although I want to race through this book because it is so enjoyable, I am reading it slowly, practicing writing using some of the structural elements as I read about them, and taking notes. If the rest of the book is as good as the first part, then I'm sure it will have been , like finding out who the murderer is in a gripping who-dun-it novel, a satisfying use of my time .
I use a method of writing called 'free writing' which is really the generation of any ideas and putting it on paper, but I get writer's block. This book by Weiland, plus another method of writing called 'object writing' are helping me to get over the block.
I only mention it because it helped me skip a landfill's worth of useless how-to-novel paperbacks and go almost straight to this one. It's the good old tried and true three-act structure, and it's not pretending to be anything secret and revolutionary with a snazzy new name. Just an honest and practical study of a storytelling system that has worked just fine for centuries. Even if you're looking to write fiction that breaks rules, these are the rules you need to know first. It's explained thoroughly and without any of the pretensions of revolutionary genius that so many of these guides have, explaining and illustrating theory without overindulging in its own cleverness. No gimmicks. No secrets cracked. Just useful information. This book is the common workhorse of how-to guides and I can't recommend it highly enough.
The only tripping point for me was that the four examples used to illustrate the theory aren't as universally known as you'd expect. Pride & Prejudice is fair enough, but Ender's Game, Master and Commander and It's a Wonderful Life aren't really works of fiction that stand out prominently in most people's minds, especially non-Americans like me. They probably illustrate the theory perfectly, but something a bit closer to popular consciousness might have been better. Still, minor quibble. Must-have book.