Over the years, I’ve started writing novels, only to give up part way through. I thought that novel writing was not for me, that I was more suited to short stories. I found plot development difficult, and my stories never seemed to go anywhere.
Then I watched a video on YouTube (I think it was by Joanna Penn) which talked about the book Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. I bought the book and read it, and read it again. It gives clear directions on how to drive a story forward – sections and plot points that you have to hit, in addition to character development techniques and much more.
I applied the concepts to my novel in progress, mapping the story out according to the sections and points highlighted in the book. Once I’d done this, the writing was easy. I never got lost. I knew exactly where I was going and where the story was heading. I wrote one draft of the novel and then spent some time tidying it up. I often hear about novelists writing draft after draft. I didn’t need to do that. I had a well-structured story with all the bits in the right places from the first draft.
I have no affiliation with the book Story Engineering, or its author, but I recommend it if you are struggling to write your novel. I’m now applying the concepts to my second novel, which has been swimming around in my head for about five years. I’m finding the story is coming to life as I place incidents in the story in the right places. And that is what it is becoming – a story. Before, it was just a jumbled mess. I’m going to take my time to make sure I have the structure firmly in place before I start writing it. That will make the writing process a lot easier.