Your Novel in 12 Sentences: Summary

The Ultimate Plotting Tool for Pantsers

Your entire novel in 12 sentences. When I first read the concept, it made perfect sense to me because I’d just finished Story Engineering and knew why it would work.

What about you? Has this made sense?

It’s not easy. I’m grinding through the 12 sentences for the sequel to Through the Fog and they’re not coming easily.

But I’d rather struggle now than after writing a 40,000-word draft.

More than once I’ve heard the claim that some folks can’t plan a story in advance.

I just don’t buy it. Won’t? That I’ll buy. It puts all the hardest work up front, and some folks would not face those challenges on day one.

You will, at some point, write all 12 of these sentences.

And you get to choose if you’re going to do it now, and get them all right when there’s only 12 sentences, or if you’re going to do it somewhere during your 12th draft, when you’ve written two-hundred-thousand words of drafts, rewrites, and corrections.

A few notes:

  • The sentences might get long and rambling. It’s okay; they’re for your use, not public consumption.
  • Because these are for you, not your readers, don’t tease. You’re not writing marketing copy. Spell events out clearly. Tell the ending. Blow the surprises. They shouldn’t be surprises to you anyway.
  • Time spent on the 12 sentences will pay you back exponentially during your writing time, where you’ll get into flow faster and stay there more easily because you’ll write from your heart, from your unconscious, instead of stopping to figger stuff out every few minutes.

Here they are again, the 12 sentences to plan your novel:

  1. Hook
  2. Setup
  3. First Plot Point
  4. Response
  5. First Pinch Point
  6. Midpoint
  7. Attack
  8. Second Pinch Point
  9. All is Lost Moment
  10. Second Plot Point
  11. Climax
  12. Resolution

If the concept of planning your novel with only 12 sentences intrigues you and you’d like to learn more about story structure, check out Larry Brooks’
Story Engineering and K. M. Weiland’s Structuring Your Novel. Both Excellent.

My Pathfinding Session for fiction authors will dredge up these 12 sentences from the secret place they’re hiding in the back of your mind. It’s $1,000 worth of writing coaching for only $325. Follow this link to read about it and sign up.

4 thoughts on “Your Novel in 12 Sentences: Summary

    1. That’s super! I’m working through one book this way, and once I’ve experimented with one of my light mysteries I’m going to apply it to the rework of my more Chandleresque mystery.

  1. I have always been a pantser. BUT– I love this method. Oh, the time it will save me. I just recently started a new novel. I’m stopping right now to work on my sentences before I write another word. Thank you! I’m bookmarking this post to refer to.

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