5 Secrets to Writing a Bestselling Novel — Secret #3: Your Story Structure. Writing a novel without first creating a structure is like building a house without even having a floor plan. Learn how to create the SIX KEY MOMENTS in your novel; these are essential scenes that shape the direction of the story. Get more info: http://www.writetosellyourbook.com/work-with-diane
Hi! I’m Diane O’Connell, book development expert and founder of Write to Sell Your Book.
Welcome back to my video series: Five Secrets to Writing a Bestselling Novel.
Today I’ll share the third secret: Your Story Structure. In my 25 years working with authors, I’ve seen many first-time novelists who write by the seat of their pants without first creating a structure. That’s like a homebuilder who hammers away, building whatever room inspires him before he has a floor plan. Can you imagine the disaster?
In creating your structure, you must first establish your novel’s key moments – the blueprint for your book. These are the essential scenes that shape the direction of your story. Key moments that create conflict and raise the stakes higher and higher. Without this, your story takes too long to get going, drags in the middle and ends on a whimper.
Here are the six key moments to include: The first key moment is your Current Reality, which establishes your protagonist and novel’s setting. It’s your main character in his everyday life when the story opens.
For example, in The Godfather we meet Michael Corleone. His Current Reality is he’s a war hero, determined to avoid his father’s way of life as a Mafia Don.
The Second key moment is The Happening -- the event that changes the protagonist’s reality. For example, when Michael Corleone’s father is shot by an adversary, this event is the happening, which he must respond to.
The Third key moment is The Choice, where the main character makes a decision that will change his life forever.
After Michael gets his jaw broken on orders of his father’s adversary, he vows to seek revenge and masterminds the murder of the rival family. Michael will never go back to his earlier way of life. He has now been pulled into the Mafia.
The fourth key moment is The Moment of Truth. At this moment, your character is at his lowest point where he will either rise above his problem or sink into it. Whatever your moment of truth is, make it dramatic.
Michael Corleone’s moment of truth is when he decides to decimate the rival families. Michael has sunk deeply into a life of crime. There’s no turning back.
Shortly after the moment of truth is The Final Confrontation this is where the main conflict comes to a head. While Michael and his family are in the midst of a baptism, his soldiers carry out his plan, unleashing a torrent of death upon the family’s enemies.
The final key moment is the New Reality. For a story to be truly profound, your new reality must be worlds away from the Current Reality we started with — at least in your main character’s eyes.
When Michael’s wife accuses him of ordering the death of his brother-in-law, he boldly lies, denying it. He has gone from idealistic war hero to kingpin of a corrupt family business. These key moments raise the stakes, making for a suspenseful, emotionally wrenching story.
Crafting your key moments in advance will save you from countless rewrites and will ensure your novel is riveting.
I’ll talk about this more in my next video, where I’ll show you how to write your draft quickly.
I’m Diane O’Connell. Thanks for joining me. See you in the next video!
Stay tuned for more great tips!
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