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  • Writer's pictureBill

Scaffolding for Novels. Again. Hybrid Publishing, Coming Soon.

In my previous post, I ranted about Michael Hauge’s elaborate framework for crafting a novel. I didn’t like to be told. Since, I’ve run across a couple of very interesting websites for us newbie novelists.

The first was forwarded to me by a writer, friend, novelist, and editor (par excellence, if you’re in need), Daniel Weizmann. This website is by Rick Pullen writing an anthology of best-selling authors who describe how they wrote and published their first book. Here’s the link where you can read chapters in his as yet unpublished book. The connection with Hauge is the chapter on and by Lee Child who recommends that writers write their novels their own way. So Bronx cheer for Hauge?

No. In Anne R Allen’s excellent writer’s website, here’s her simplification of Hauge’s structure, a primer if you will. She indicates that deference to structure in a novel is not a bad thing. Maybe if the directions are simple enough, and allow room for a soaring creation, while at the same time respecting a reader’s needs and wants. Ms Allen explains that most novels are complex so some guideposts are necessary to prevent chaos.

Here’s what she has to say:


Inciting moment (one example might be the reading of a will which gathers the main characters together, leading to…)

Crisis one (maybe first murder?)…setback…

Crisis two (usually second murder)…setback…

Crisis three/black moment (protagonist in danger)

Climax…finale (murderer revealed)…denoument.

You can have more than three acts, of course, just like you can have more than three crisis points. But I think it’s very important to know at least this much about your story when you are starting a book.

That second crisis point is really important. I tell my Crafting a Novel college students that if a story wallows with Saggy Middle Syndrome, I’m willing to bet it never had a second crisis point around the middle of the book. Don’t just lurch from chapter to chapter. That’s soap opera writing, where bad things happen, but they don’t relate to an overall plot goal. We’re writing a novel here, not a soap opera.

Takeaway: If you don’t have at least three crisis points (or plot points) you don’t have enough plot for a novel.”

I also told you I'd reveal how much hybrid publishing is going to cost. Oh well, maybe next time. Meanwhile, why don't you google hybrid publishing so you know what I'm talking about. ..... Back so soon? Still confused by the term? To be discussed. Here. Soon.

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