#5 of only 12 sentences you need to define your entire novel.
Midway through the flailing and failing of the Response is the First Pinch Point: the reader is given direct insight into the antagonistic forces for themselves. New information emphasizes, even raises the stakes. According to Larry Brooks, the simpler and more direct it is, the more effective it is.
Write one sentence which describes what new insight into the antagonist will raise the stakes, at least in the reader’s mind.
Tomorrow, #6: The Midpoint.
#4 of only 12 sentences you need to define your entire novel.
After the First Plot Point the hero reacts without success. For the next 25% of your book, they flounder, fight, and fail, reacting to this unwanted quest which has been thrust upon them. They are a wanderer, trying to make sense of the new world they find themselves in.
Write one (perhaps long and rambling) sentence which describes how your hero will flail and fail.
Tomorrow, #5: the First Pinch Point.
#3 of only 12 sentences you need to define your entire novel.
25% of the way into your novel is the First Plot Point, where your hero realizes they’re on a journey, whether they like it or not.
Watch a television drama. About 15 minutes in, something happens just before they cut to the commercial which tells you exactly what the show is going to be about. The main character learns something that makes their path for the next 45 obvious and unavoidable.
That moment is the First Plot Point.
… more … “The First Plot Point (#3 of 12 Sentences)”
#2 of only 12 sentences you need to define your entire novel.
The first part of your novel is the Setup. It has 5 missions. The first is setting a killer hook, giving the reader something so compelling they don’t even consider not reading your book.
The Setup makes up the first 25% of your novel. It takes that long to meet the 5 missions. Shortchange your readers in the Setup and you’ll struggle to create empathy for your characters. Without that emotional connection the stakes fall flat.
Besides the Hook, the Setup has 4 more missions:
… more … “The Setup (#2 of 12 Sentences)”
#1 of only 12 sentences you need to define your entire novel.
The first part of your novel is the Setup. It has 5 missions. Four of them will be covered in tomorrow’s post, but the first is so important it gets its own slot.
… more … “The Hook (#1 of 12 Sentences)”
I fully know the joys of completely winging it through an entire novel. That’s how I wrote Through the Fog. I had no idea how the story would end. Most days I had no idea how that chapter would end.
It’s fun, but it results in one of two things
- endless rewrites, or
- a substandard story.
I am well aware that Through the Fog falls into the latter category. Foreshadowing? Theme? Supreme stakes? Pretty much missing.
When I learned more writing craft I realized I could retrofit Through the Fog or do better next time.
Then from Larry Brooks I learned another way.
… more … “The Ultimate Plotting Tool for Pantsers: Your Novel in 12 Sentences”