Okay, I'm moving away from structure questions and more into pre-writing questions. When you're writing a novel, do you write the world first or the story first? If you're writing a fantasy or science fiction novel set in an alternate universe or a different planet, the choice may seem obvious but, if you want a… Continue reading Novel Writing Questions No. 7: World-Planning Or Story-Planning First
(Apologies for the bad image) I've just finished reading Night Watch by Terry Pratchett. Like the other Discworld books, this one doesn't have any chapters. You'd think that this would cripple a book, leaving no convenient place for a reader to leave off for the day and risking confusion when the scene changes. Yet, in Night Watch,… Continue reading Novel Writing Question No.6: Do we even need chapters anyway?
Okay, back in question 2, the comments suggested that naming the chapters is now out of style as this can give away the story but combining that with a table of contents can certainly spoil the story before the reader has got off the first page. That's why I normally skip a contents page when… Continue reading Novel Writing Questions No. 5: A Contents Page?
Prologues can serve a variety of purposes. They can also be 'teasers' of the main action, even a 'teaser' of the ending (I'll write more about that later) or even a way to set up a red herring to fool the audience into following the wrong lead. If it's a crime novel, it could be… Continue reading Novel Writing Question 4: Do I need a prologue?
In some of the books I've read (like American Gods, which I'm currently reading), the story is split in to different parts, usually three. I think this is a callback to when novels were released in volumes (like Jane Eyre) rather than in one block. Nowadays, they can serve to divide up the narrative. It's a… Continue reading Novel Writing Questions 3: Volumes, Parts and Other Dividers
What I mean by that question is how should you write a novel when writing on a computer? Should you: write the whole thing in one document? or write it in chapters or separate parts? I've done both and there are certainly advantages and disadvantages to both. When writing in a whole document, you don't… Continue reading Novel Writing Question 1: One Document or Many?