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Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story Paperback – August 17, 2013
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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.
GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict
Just a few other thoughts:
(1) Weiland draws from and expounds upon the wisdom of other fiction craft writers such as Swain, which means you get a lot of bang for your buck.
(2) Most of the information in her book seems to be available via her website ("Helping Writers Become Authors"). However, I liked having a copy I could keep on my kindle and mark up with highlights and comments.
(3) My only suggestions for improvement of this book are two-fold: (a) I felt that the novel/movie examples could be a little clearer. Sometimes the examples didn't seem to be as fleshed out as they could be. (b) Weiland's summary of the breakdown of the reaction phase of Swain's MRUs is a little different and, to me, didn't quite ring true. This is a very minor part of the book, but I prefer the summary provided at Randy Ingermanson's website (specifically the page on "Writing The Perfect Scene"). To me, "Thought" is on par with "Speech." Both are rational, and thus belong near the end of the sequence.