Is your novel Young Adult?

Young Adult (YA) books have seen a tremendous growth in the last ten years. Each time you set foot into a bookstore it seems as if the young adult section has increased once again and is taking up more shelves than ever. While the target demographic of YA is 12 to 18 year olds, a large chunk of individuals that read the books are often much older. In fact if you would ask a range of adults to name their favorite books, it would be common for them to cite Eleanor and… Read More

Fine tuning the settings of your novel – questions to ask yourself

The previous post focused on making general choices regarding the location of your novel, such as a real vs. imaginary world and where to set the dwelling of your characters. This entry will look closer at what to consider location wise before starting your writing process. Personally, I prefer to make separate word documents, one for each setting that I will use in my novel. But one can also accomplish this task by hand or using other formats such as Excel. For most writers it is a no-brainer to sit down and… Read More

Choosing a location for your novel

This blog post will be the first one in which I will examine what criterions to focus on when choosing a location for your novel. At the uttermost macro level lays the decision whether your story will take place in the real world or a fictional world. High fantasy books take place in a made up world. The author might choose to give names to various invented countries or even make up a new realm. In contrast to this paranormal romance books are often set at least partly in a real city/country (that… Read More

The hero’s obstacles – pitfalls to avoid

As you write your book the tension in the novel should increase from chapter to chapter. Early on it should be clearly stated what the main protagonist has to gain or lose  – these are the stakes. While the protagonist strives towards his/her goal the author has to throw obstacles in their path to create drama.   DESIRE + OBSTACLE = TENSION The roadblocks should be reasonable and make sense for your genre. If you are writing in fantasy it can be wicked creatures, spells and of course the big bad. In… Read More

Part 4 of your novel

This is the final part of your novel, the grand finale. Perhaps it will be the easiest one to write, the one you’ve been looking forward to from the start. Personally, the climax and the resolution are my favorite parts to write and to read. They can deliver a well-deserved dose of satisfaction provided they are done correctly. The first mistake to avoid is not planning your ending before now. Prior to starting this part  you should have made a conscious decision about what the ending of your book will look like…. Read More

Part 3 of your novel

The third quartile of a novel is also commonly called the Attack. In this part the hero transforms from passive into active and runs towards the issue at hand trying to make sense of it and resolve it. At around 62% the second pinch point takes place. Just like the first pinch point it has to depict the antagonistic force directly. It cannot be filtered through the protagonists’ perception.  Of course it also has to be more dramatic in comparison to the first pinch point. This is when the hero begins to… Read More

Part 2 of your novel

This entry focuses on the second part or 25 to 50% of your book, also called the Response. Let’s examine first how the second part would play out in a romance novel. In the second quartile the protagonists address their interest in each other. Despite initially making some progress and spending time together they ultimately scare each other away or aggravate each other. Everything seems to be going rosy until the first pinch point, which takes place 37.5% into the novel story. At this point the main antagonistic force becomes visible, which… Read More

Part 1 of your novel

As discussed in my previous post your novel should be split in four equal parts. That means that each quartile should have roughly the same amount of words, pages and chapters. It might be tempting to rush part 1, especially for those writers, who have gotten rejections or negative feedback focused on their story’s slow pace. Yet despite this the main goal of part 1 is to set-up your story. That does not mean that this part is boring or that it is primarily concerned with descriptions of places. By all means do… Read More

Novel structure

This post will explain in detail the main milestones of a novel on which you should focus as a reader and writer. If you are interested in finding out what else to focus on when reading please check out my earlier post Effective reading for writers. I will upload another post soon where a particular novel is broken down by structure to show highlight in depth the main beats. For now I will briefly outline the basic framework of a novel, each stage that should be identifiable in a fictional book. It may… Read More

Effective reading for writers

Successful authors, literary agents and editors all agree that aspiring and already published authors need to read. In fact Stephen King recommends reading about seventy books per years, or a book about every four to five days. Now this might seem excessive at first but let’s look at the reasons to understand why reading is so important to writers. Firstly, reading expands the vocabulary and helps with improvement of writing style. Secondly it’s always easier to judge someone else’s work fairly than your own. By understanding what works in their chosen genre,… Read More