Structuring Your Novel, by K.M. Weiland gives you the Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story
In my obsession to write a page-turning novel that has my readers on the edge of their seat I am always on the hunt for excellent writing guides. Structuring your novel is part and parcel of creating a riveting read so when you open Katie’s book on Structuring Your Novel, you’ll find it opens with a bang and explains how to hook your read with a riveting first line.
There are five elements to this and Katie explains them in detail, and then she gives your examples from film and fiction so you this in action.
Many writers write a full manuscript, and even when finished don't know where to begin their story. Katie covers this with topics such as character, action, setting, in Media Res and how to create your book's dramatic question.
Your Book's Dramatic Question
According to Katie explains ‘The Dramatic Question’ is where the beginning asks a question, and the ending answers it. If the ending fails to answer the specific question set out in the beginning, the whole book will fail.
What will be answered in the ending is your story’s dramatic question. It’s the one that will fuel the entirety of your plot. This is vitally important because once you’ve set up a powerful question in your story’s opening, you have to follow through by deliberately answering it in the finale. Finding that answer in the story’s ending is the only way to create continuity and resonance.
In Structuring Your Novel, I found the ‘Five Elements of a Riveting First Line’ so important to my own writing that I typed up a check-list so when I am starting or finishing a book, I can go back and double check that I have captured these elements in my own opening.
With each section of valuable learning, Katie gives you 'Takeaway Value' where she summarises the main points by firing a few bullets at you to be sure you got the message!
Writers who spend many hours planning and plotting their story and writing up a story structure know the value of plot points and what stage they should be. If you've done your homework on plotting your story you'll know that the story is divvied up into 3 main sections: Beginning, Middle and End.
It's learning how to get those plot points into action at the right stages to push your reader on and keep them hooked and reading. Here Katie explains the different plot points, where they should be positioned and why. She follows through on her advice by giving you examples from popular fiction so you can see where other successful authors have plugged in their plot points and how it has shot their story forward.
If you need to create a perfect closing line, see Katie's infographic - 5 steps to a resonant closing line.