Guide to Novel Structure


You’re writing an entire novel. You’ve come up with a fantastic idea, and, brimming with excitement you’ve gone in a flurry, churning out an enormous piece of writing.

Then your rush of inspiration fades away and the inevitable thought comes to mind: What happens after that? What do I want to accomplish with this? How do I write an entire novel?

Here’s how:

How do you create an entire novel

You’ve got how to begin your story and you’re likely to already know, at a very early point throughout the process, what the final result will be. You don’t know what it takes to get between A and B and how do you get there? Writing a novel can be similar to launching in the dark. You’ve got a place to start and a destination.

You’ve never visited this particular area before. How do you reach where you’d like to be? What’s ahead? Who will you face? What hurdles will you encounter? In the future what are you planning to do to write your novel to ensure that your readers get the best experience?

This is the reason why the novel plot structure can be useful. As a writer, you’ll benefit from having a plan for your novel, just as you’d benefit from having a map that can guide you through an undiscovered area.

How do you plan something when you’ve only begun writing it? 

You may not be aware of what’s going to happen. It is possible that imposing rigidity on your concept will hinder your creativity. But don’t worry. You don’t need to work everything out in perfect detail right immediately. Begin with the fundamentals.

On one piece of paper, take a few notes. Genre, beginning, and end.
For instance ‘ It’s a crime thriller in which a city police officer Shara Lee, who is investigating an online grooming business, is enticed by people who traffic in and finally fends off the evil Gangmaster Erik Eriksson.

It’s only the beginning. Now, you’re able to get started and begin creating the story’s structure.

Take notes on:

Character: Who is your main character?

Setting: Where is the novel set? And how do you play your character in the setting?

Motive: What does your character’s goal during the novel?

Inciting incident: What is the significant incident that ignites your character’s drive to succeed at whatever they desire?

Change: What is the fundamental change that must occur within the story?

Developments in the plot: What are the basic instances that are required to advance your plot?

Point of crisis: What is the worst event that takes place in your story. The point where everything seems to be lost?

Resolution: What happens at the conclusion to bring your story to a satisfying end?

Theme: Is there an overarching theme that you’re writing? It’s important to know what the theme is because it will allow you to make the most effective structure for your book.

When you write down your ideas under each one of these headings. You’ll realize that you don’t have the right answer for everything. This is a good thing – it’s all part of the learning process. If there’s a gap in your knowledge or something you’re not sure about but haven’t yet discovered, keep a record of it so you’ll be able to come back and add it to your list.

A massive pothole at a crucial point in your narrative.

Looking for more tips on how to begin your story? Here are ten ways to start the action

How do you compose a novel: Selecting an appropriate narrative format

For certain authors and types of novels. Having all the fundamental ideas in one location can provide the necessary structure to allow you to begin writing confidently. You may want to begin by creating the basic story first and then think about its overall structure in the future. However, some novels might require a more formal structure and the way you structure it will depend on the kind of novel you’re writing. Different types of structure for stories include:

A Three-Act Structure

Based on the classic three-act play the basic three-act structure has become the standard model for screenplays and novels.

Theater scripts. Within Act One, Book writing usa meet the protagonist, confront the incident that triggered them and then encounter an internal resistance to the inciting incident. Within Act Two, which occupies about half the story the main character reacts to the incident, leading to conflicts and action.

Act Three: In Act Three, conflict mounts in the third act. It is possible to have an unexpected plot twist, and following this climax or crisis, there is an ending to the story. Other story structures can be built on top of the basic three-act structure to help create your story.

The Hero’s Journey

The name was first coined at the time of 1949 by Joseph Campbell to the classic story structure in which the protagonist escapes their daily life (Act 1.). Sets out into the unknown, where they confront obstacles (Act 2.) before returning having triumphed against all odds (Act 3.). There are 12 steps in the Hero’s Journey Act 1 normal world calling to adventure; refusing to answer the invitation; meeting with the mentor Act 2: crossing the threshold test, enemies and allies as they approach the final cave; enduring and reward in Act 3 Return to the road to the cave; resurrection; return.

The 7-Point Structure of the Story

The horror author Dan Wells created a 7-point structure that writers have found valuable. It includes:

  1. Hook or the point of entry.
  2. One plot turns events that set the story into motion.
  3. One Pinch In which you introduce tension/the antagonist.
  4. Midpoint The point at which your character ceases to be reacting. Instead becomes active to resolve the story’s primary issue.
  5. Point two where you put on the pressure and appears as if everything is gone.
  6. Plot turn 2 The character you choose to play discovers. The details they require to be able to take on the task they chose in the middle.
  7. Resolution Is the final chapter of the story in which the protagonist is successful (or is unsuccessful in the end. Depending on the ending you wish to achieve) in achieving what they have set out to do.

According to the three-act structure, Act One is points 1 and 2. Act Two encompasses everything from point 6 onwards Then, Act Three is point 7.

The W-Plot

Begin with starting at the upper end of the W, which is the event trigger. First, the turning point will be located at the lower end of the first downward stroke. Act One takes place between these two points. The second upward movement, Act Two is about recuperating from the issue and eventually leads to the third trigger point at the center part of the W.

The next stroke moves downwards, as the problem gets worse and leads to the second turning point. The final part is an upward stroke, leading to the point that completes the W-shape. The goal will solve the issue at the very close of the process.

Panter-shape for jeansers

What happens to the structure of your story when you’re a pantser and not a plotter? Maybe you’re not a template-loving, graph-following type of writer, and you believe that imposing any of the above logical structures on your storyline could hinder your creativity. What do you do?

It’s not that a writer should just plot out an idea. Then start with the beginning of the story and continue to work towards the final. This is a good strategy for certain writers however, it isn’t the case for all writers. There’s a great argument to make about working at a rapid pace during the initial spark of creativity that ignited your passion for the novel, and then observing the direction it takes you and what thoughts it takes you.

When you’ve got a solid block of text – say 10,000 words that you wrote during the initial, highly exciting stages of bringing a novel to life It can be a good moment to pause. Think about which next step could be for your novel.

Then put the pieces into a coherent story shortly.

Book writing usa recommending that taking some time before your story’s plot or structure, will allow you to create a cohesive story. Making a plan and adhering to it will help you not have to do too much unwinding.

However organic you want your writing process it still needs some kind of structure to keep it from becoming an unwieldy, inaccessible mess.

This also stops you from dealing with creative apathy because you’ve put yourself in a corner and aren’t certain what’s the next time.

Here are some tips which can help you understand the structure that the story you’re writing from just jotting down your thoughts:

What character do you have? What’s the issue? How can it be solved?

Every story must include conflict and change. What are the issues (conflict) within the story and how do they need to happen for maximum dramatic impact? What’s the major change that is required? How will it be impacted and at what time?

A novel should include light and shade, dramatic scenes juxtaposed with reflective scenes, and intense action juxtaposed with comic relief. What is the best place in your novel where these contrasts are located?

* Events must take place in a novel so that the reader doesn’t become confused and isn’t sure what they can be expecting. Therefore, you must be aware of the need to incorporate plot twists and turns in your work. Where should they be placed? How will you arrange them?

Chapter plans

After you’ve gathered all the plot elements and created a structure that matches the plot of the novel in progress. You may decide to reduce it further into chapters.

The benefit of having a chapter-by-chapter strategy is the fact that you break down your story into manageable chunks of bite-sized pieces. It’s much simpler to work through a 6,000-word novel than to write 70,000 words. However, more important, while you know where you’re in the story, chapters also allow you to examine the arrangement of every chapter. Each chapter must be able to have its dramatic storyline. Imagine watching an episode of a TV show that tells a portion of a larger story, but is also a compelling narrative on its own that has its internal dynamics.

If we envision the plot of a novel with 12 chapters, written following a basic three-act structure. The basic chapter outline could appear like this:

Act One (set to):

Chapter 1: introduce the main character to their surroundings, i.e. Tara’s first job post-school is working in a mobile telephone shop, however, her hopes are of making her band successful.

Chapter 2 A dramatic change takes place that alters the life of the protagonist over the length of the story. Tara listens to a client calling him on his cell phone while at work, talking about Leah an old acquaintance who Tara abandoned when she got into a crowd of rough people and in a hostile manner.

Chapter 3 The action of withholding. Tara can send Leah an SMS message on What’s App, however, her band is playing a time slot in a nearby club and she gets caught in the excitement she is distracted by Leah.

Act 2 (rising step):

Chapter 4: . Tara gets her phone following the gig and realizes that there’s been no response from Leah. Nobody else has heard from her, either.

Chapter 5:  Tara is determined to locate Leah by visiting every place her former friend would hang out. When she asks questions, she is warnings.

Chapter 6: Midpoint twist. Tara continues her search. She’s taken off the streets before being bundled into the back of a van. Once they reach their destination, she’s put in an area with two mattresses. The girl who sleeps on one of the mattresses is Leah.

Chapter 7:  The kidnappers’ gang tells Tara that she’ll have to take over their drug business and take her out on the streets together with their enforcers. Leah offers her survival tips and aids Tara and the other girls get back together to repair their broken relationship. Leah and Tara have the plan to get out.

Chapter 8: They can escape, but the gang catches them, narcotics them, and then puts them in the back of the van.

Chapter 9: Tara is seen in a tiny boat, drifting in the sea, with the coast visible in the away. Leah is asleep. There is nobody to ask for help from while the ship is in the water.

Act 3 (climax and conclusion)

Chapter 10: Obstacle. Tara makes use of the boat’s single oar, and sets out for the coast however, Leah remains in a state of unconsciousness.

Chapter 11: Denouement. The boat finally is at the beach, and dogs can be seen walking the two girls early in the morning: Leah finally comes around and Tara is exhausted and suffocated. It’s all touch and goes when Leah and Tara are escorted by Air Ambulance helicopters off the beach.

Chapter 12: Resolution. Both girls are secured and the gang is being investigated by the police. Tara is asked by Leah whether she would like to join in backing vocals with her group.

In the chapter headings, as well as the plot summary, you could include notes on the characters as well as snippets of dialogue impressions of the locales. Ideas on how the relationship between protagonists develops. So on, to flesh out the foundations that comprise your story. It is also possible to note down ways in which the layout of your book aids in the development of its themes.

In the example above there is one theme that is about repairing the broken bonds of friendship. The other is women helping one another to escape a common story of men trying to take advantage of their victims. How do you develop these ideas to make the themes beneficial to the reader?

Act One is all about setting the stage for the story, and, while it is important to provide enough information to keep the attention of the reader its purpose is to act as an introduction to your characters so they can begin their journey. Act Three is all about giving a satisfying conclusion, so the readers are happy that the story has been completed and that the dramatic shift is important to the storyline is impacted.

Utilize the information you don’t have to organize your novel

You’ll likely be able to know all about the character. The world of your story is in the beginning stages of the writing process. When you begin to follow your characters as they travel, you’ll get to know them like you would with an actual acquaintance.

You can make use of what you learn to enhance or modify the structure of your novel for instance in our YA example novel what is Tara’s familial background? What was it that caused her to break up her relationship with Leah? These kinds of questions could be developed into possible storylines that you might need to include in an overall structure for your story.

The structure isn’t fixed in stone

It could be that you’ve plotted an obstacle or a crisis into the structure, which feels forced and isn’t suitable for the character you’ve chosen. You should be prepared to review the structure of your novel to be sure you’re creating the most effective book you can. Consider your structure in terms of a way to guide you to assist you and the scaffolding will help you write your story, instead of a plan which must be followed even if it leads to something that isn’t scalable.


Does your story have subplots with characters from other books? They could provide shades and some relief or some way, mirror the book’s main storyline, which is the one that revolves around your principal character. Subplots must be integrated within the framework of your book with great attention to detail. The reader should be interested in the events that transpire within them, but not nearly as in the same way as they do about your main character. Create sub-plots that possess their dramatic plot which could be used to enhance or contrast with the primary plot.


Although your novel may include quieter sections. Times that let the reader take a breath in your novel, everything should be logical and propel the story forward. One advantage of structuring your story in a chapter-by-chapter format is that it allows you to determine the pace and if there’s enough motion so that something is happening constantly to keep the reader engaged as well as when there are too many happenings. If you’re writing a thriller with action that has events happening in rapid intervals, there should be some element of contrast in the structure of your story so that your writing doesn’t appear uninteresting and monotonous.

It’s the same when you’re writing a comedy novel. If every line in every paragraph of every chapter is humorous the overall effect will wear thin. The idea of structure on an individual chapter level allows you to make sure that the reader gets time to breathe before your next gag or car chase setting up.

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