I have just finished reading 5 Secrets of Story Structure: How to Write a Novel That Stands Out (Helping Writers Become Authors Book 6) by K.M. Weiland (currently free on amazon) and I am glad I did.
If you are like me you have spent years reading about story structure and the hows and whys of needing to structure your stories. You remember countless hours of lectures by English teachers telling you about the parts of a story and how they all needed to be there to make it work but very little information about what order they needed to be in or how to recognize each element when you wrote it. You understood it on some level but it never made sense, not completely. There were always questions left to answer like “What exactly is an Inciting Incident?” or “How do I know for sure if it is time for the Key Event and what in hell is that anyway?”Ask six different writers and you will get six different answers. Some will even claim the Inciting Incident and the Key Event are the same thing.
That is all well and good but doesn’t do much for trying to sort through structuring a story and creating an outline. So you said to hell with planning your story and winged it (NaNoWriMo participants call this “pantsing”). Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t and you wrote yourself into a proverbial corner with no idea how to get things back on track. Eventually you are left with a feeling of frustration and abject failure. Determined to try again but certain you will most likely fail because you don’t have the mythical “something” successful writers all seem to have.
Today I read 5 Secrets of Story Structure: How to Write a Novel That Stands Out (Helping Writers Become Authors Book 6) and I finally understand what I was missing: a plan that made sense! I have one now, I know where to the story (Rising Tide) is going, and I have the freedom to let the characters tell me what happens while still having the framework in place to get them back on track if they get sidetracked too far. I even managed something I have never managed before. Today I summarized my plot in a single sentence! If you are anything like me, you get a sense of terror when someone says “what is your story about?” I can answer that question now.
My story is about a young man struggling to choose between his own happiness and the welfare of his people.