Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story

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Overview

Acclaim for Structuring Your Novel

"I have long wished for a book like this. Structuring Your Novel is so much more than a writing craft book-it's a recipe to help writers structure a deep, meaningful journey for their hero that will captivate readers from beginning to end."-Angela Ackerman, Author of The Emotion Thesaurus

"There is absolute gold in this book-and I am grateful that the author has a real talent for distilling some of the somewhat clunky information found ...

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Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story

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More About This Book

Overview

Acclaim for Structuring Your Novel

"I have long wished for a book like this. Structuring Your Novel is so much more than a writing craft book-it's a recipe to help writers structure a deep, meaningful journey for their hero that will captivate readers from beginning to end."-Angela Ackerman, Author of The Emotion Thesaurus

"There is absolute gold in this book-and I am grateful that the author has a real talent for distilling some of the somewhat clunky information found elsewhere, into really simple-to-understand and easy-to-follow techniques."-Robert Scanlon

"This book shows a writer how to structure their novel from beginning to end in a no-nonsense manner. It's fast and easy reading, and MAKES SENSE!"-Carrie C. Spencer

About the Book

Is Structure the Hidden Foundation of All Successful Stories?

Why do some stories work and others don't? The answer is structure. In this IPPY and NIEA-Award winning guide from the author of the bestselling Outlining Your Novel, you will learn the universal underpinnings that guarantee powerful plot and character arcs. An understanding of proper story and scene structure will show you how to perfectly time your story's major events and will provide you with an unerring standard against which to evaluate your novel's pacing and progression. Structuring Your Novel will show you:

  • How to determine the best techniques for empowering your unique and personal vision for your story.
  • How to identify common structural weaknesses and flip them around into stunning strengths.
  • How to eliminate saggy middles by discovering your "centerpiece."
  • Why you should NEVER include conflict in every scene.
  • How to discover the questions you don't want readers asking about your plot-and then how to get them to ask the right questions.

Story structure has enabled countless bestselling and classic authors. Now it's your turn!

More Praise for Structuring Your Novel

"K.M. Weiland delivers another exceptional resource for writers-offering practical guidance on everything from crafting a book's hook to its resolution."-Elizabeth Spann Craig, Author of the Myrtle Clover Mysteries

"Structuring Your Novel will give you the blueprint for making your story more powerful. I'm taking this one with me to my desert island!"-Jennifer Ibarra

"After finishing the book, I reviewed my own writing and was easily able to see where the story wasn't working, understand why it wasn't, and figure out what I needed to do to fix it."-Abby Geiger

More storytelling assistance from K.M. Weiland:

Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success-Can outlining help you write a better story?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780985780401
  • Publisher: PenForASword
  • Publication date: 8/17/2013
  • Pages: 324
  • Sales rank: 187,404
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    K.M. Weiland has delivered a carefully thought out and organized

    K.M. Weiland has delivered a carefully thought out and organized text on how to structure a novel. It is an excellent complement
     to her best selling writing resource, Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success. The text takes the reader step-by-step
     through a process which, if followed, should ensure writing that meets readers' expectations. You will find answers on how to avoid
    common pitfalls. The conversational tone delivers its message in a simple and effective manner.

    I'm confident this book will improve my writing. I learned a lot from reading it the first time and intend to return to the book as an
    important resource. 

    My review is based on an advance released copy.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2013

    Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland┬┐the improviser review [Di

    Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland—the improviser review
    [Disclaimer: I’ve hosted Ms. Weiland on my blog several times, we’re friendly on Twitter, and she’s one of my beta readers. However, having her read my manuscript may be an advantage for this review, as it’s allowed me to see all of these ideas put into editorial practice. Her comments significantly improved my novel.]
    I am not a structure person. The only time I outline is after the fact and whatever sketch I come up with gets ignored a few bullet points in. Yet, books like Ms. Weiland’s “Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story” are invaluable.
    When you swing from inspiration to inspiration, you need an innate sense of structure to avoid a complete muddle. Some people have this innately, but most of us need to learn it. Aside from reading as much fiction as you have time for, taking advantage of studied structuralists is your best start. Of course, even after absorbing all of these lessons, you may still find yourself with a verby mess. At that point, guides to structure are your map and flashlight. 
    “Structuring Your Novel” is particularly well-suited towards the first need, although by no means poor at the second. Weiland examines structure from big to small, starting with the overall story arch and gradually switching instruments until she’s using a microscope on sentences. At each level of detail, she offers both sound advice and well-chosen examples.
    If you own any other writing books that touch on story arch, the beginning material is probably not new to you. With 10-15 other writing books worked into my writerly thinking, this is ground I could skim. Yet Weiland’s explanations were as good as the best of her competition. If you’re looking for a book to get you started, this is definitely a top-contender.
    If you feel you already have a mastery of story arc, “Structuring Your Novel” still has much to offer. In fact, I would almost go as far as to say story arc is the introduction of Ms. Weiland’s approach. Where this book starts to accelerate from others is when she begins discussing scenes. Much like how plot is boring without character, story arc (e.g., the big plot) can’t exist without scenes. Weiland helps the reader understand how scenes function. Her in-depth examination of scenes alone would make this a worthy addition to any writer’s book shelf.
    She finishes with sentences. While this section if relatively brief, it was something that benefited my writing more than others. Sentences are the proteins of a novel. You can survive a few poor ones, but your readers will feel something is off if you don’t master the basics. 
    Is this the ideal book on story structure? I’m not sure such a thing exists—each reader/writer has their own needs and no one book will satisfy them all. I wasn’t fond of the bullets Ms. Weiland uses for her examples, but I know of one other reviewer who found them a virtue. Are the two novels and two movies Ms. Weiland uses as examples good ones? They are well chosen for genre diversity (an important aspect for structure—too often, I’ve felt a book on structure I’m reading is aimed at thriller writers, not people who focus on character). But their value will increase if you’ve read and watched them. 
    My quibbles aside, this is a worthy addition to any novelist’s shelf. Even where it covers ground you’re familiar, it’s likely you’ll find a useful twist. When Ms. Weiland is covering material you’re unfamiliar with, you’ll find many ideas and tools to improve your manuscript and even approach to thinking about your work.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 3, 2014

    It's hard to say anything that hasn't been said about this book

    It's hard to say anything that hasn't been said about this book already. I actually read this about a year ago, but I didn't get around to writing a review until now. I think that Weiland does a good job of distilling Plot, Structure, and Sentences down to an accessible level that is actionable.

    I think the best section of the book is the Plot section. I was already familiar with the plot point theory because I read Larry Brooks' Story Engineering, which was inspired by Syd Field's screenplay technique. Weiland has taken this theory and put her own spin on it, and I think this is the most in-depth version of the theory for writers to date. The only thing I would have liked to see at the beginning of the book was a more solid introduction to the theory, why it works, and a quick overview. The book begins by jumping into the hook, which I thought was a bit fast, especially for someone who's never read about this theory before. The plot point theory is life-changing if it "clicks" with you, which is why I would have liked to see more of a setup. But that's a minor suggestion. 

    I thought the book was solid, but I felt that the Sentence structure section was a bit weak. The author could have gone into this a lot more, but I respect that this book is really about plot and scenes moreso than sentences. If you are looking for a more in-depth read on sentences themselves, The Art of Styling Sentences is an excellent supplement to this book. 

    Overall, a good read, and highly recommended for authors wanting to step up their game.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 24, 2014

    Creativity Only Gets You So Far: Your Story Isn't Outstanding If

    Creativity Only Gets You So Far: Your Story Isn't Outstanding If It Doesn't Have Structure

    “What’s the single most overlooked, misunderstood—and yet important—part of storytelling?” asks author, KM Weiland. The title of the book gives you the answer. It’s structure. If you believe this and want some help honing yours, this book will assist you in a very accessible way. If you don’t believe this, you NEED to read this book before you hamstring your writing career. Creativity only gets you so far.

    Weiland covers the topic from macro to micro, starting out with story structure, moving to scene structure, and touching on the finer points of sentence structure. When discussing story structure, she takes you through the composition of the first sentence (the hook), walks you through the composition of the body of a story, and shows you how to wrap it all up in your resolution and ending. In the scene structure section, she breaks down the components of a complete and well-written scene. Finally, she reviews the basics of good sentence structure; including units of motivation and reaction, common sentence structure issues and how to spot unneeded verbiage (your editor will love this last part!).

    Overall, I liked this book very much. It is especially helpful to novice writers of all ages. I could even see this as an advanced high school or undergraduate text book—although Weiland’s conversational style makes it a much better read than any I encountered when I was an undergrad majoring in creative writing! I have also read John Truby’s book The Anatomy of Story –another book I highly recommend—and Weiland’s book is much more accessible than Truby’s, especially for the novice. If you are on a journey to improve your storytelling, I recommend starting with Weiland’s Structuring your Novel, mastering the concepts she explains and then moving on to more complex, graduate level concepts like those in the Truby book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2013

    Finally understand structure

    The author did a great job of explaining structure (and scene/sequel) in easy to grasp language. The examples provided throughout were also very helpful.

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  • Posted September 1, 2013

    There are so many things I liked about this book I'm sure I miss

    There are so many things I liked about this book I'm sure I missed mentioning them all, but here are a few:

    I loved how the author structured the book so it was easy to read and follow. The book took you through writing your story from the start to the very end.

    The author included great examples in addition to the how-to tips she gave for each main point.

    The information provided was not only helpful but easy to understand. Some writing books can be filled with jargon that leaves you reaching for your dictionary to understand exactly what they meant. Not this book.

    I used this book to write my latest story and found it saved me time I would've wasted trying to remember every step I needed to take to flush out the story and make it all it could be.

    I highly recommend this book to all writers whether you're a newbie like me or if you're a seasoned author. A must have writing resource!

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  • Posted August 31, 2013

    Whether you are a pantser or plotter, understanding structure ca

    Whether you are a pantser or plotter, understanding structure can help elevate your novel and allow you to make a bigger impact on readers. With Structure Your Novel, K.M. Wieland has crafted a guide that tackles macro and micro structure, story to scene. Taking writers step-by-step through the three act structure, the author expands on what important elements help form a compelling story (hook, characters, stakes, rising conflict, sub plots, foreshadowing, plot points, climax, etc.) and how to insert them at exactly the right time for maximum impact. The insight continues as Mrs. Weiland then invites readers into the fabric of a scene, showing them exactly how to write story moments that will keep readers engaged.

    I have long wished for a book like this. Structure Your Novel is so much more than a writing craft book--it’s a recipe to help writers structure a deep, meaningful journey for their hero that will captivate readers from beginning to end.

    Angela Ackerman

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  • Posted August 25, 2013

    As a beginning fiction writer, I read lots of books on writing ┬┐

    As a beginning fiction writer, I read lots of books on writing ‘how to’s. Most of these books that I find most helpful cluster around topics related to plotting, character development, and story telling.  
    I soon learned that story structure and plot are tied together, so regardless of the genre you are writing in, making your plot work within your story structure is absolutely key to keeping your reader engaged and continuing to turn the pages of your story.  

    K.M. Weiland’s new book, ‘Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story‘ breaks new ground. This book bridges the gap between story structure for movies and structure that works for novels and short stories.

    Ms. Weiland knows whereof she speaks; she is the author of three published novels as well as several short stories, as well as a previous non-fiction book, ‘Outlining Your Novel.‘ I purchased that book, and it led me to her very useful teaching website, which I have been following for some time. 
    In her new book, ‘Structuring Your Novel,‘ Ms. Weiland discusses the principles of structuring your story as a whole, but then in the second half of the book, she breaks new ground -- at least it was new to me-- by detailing out the structuring principles at the level of a story’s individual scenes.  It turns out there is quite a bit to know about how to structure and order scenes so as to be successful in getting your reader to continue turning the pages.  Ms. Weiland gives a very complete treatment to this, and I haven’t seen any other book that gives as much information on this topic as she does.

    ‘Structuring Your Novel...’ is chock full of concrete examples of the concepts the author presents.  Each story or scene level structure concept is followed up with with four examples, two drawn from well known novels, and two from films, which make application of the concept easy to understand.  And, the author is consistent in using this approach throughout the book.  This consistency, and Ms. Weiland’s diligence in finding good examples that well illustrate her points really do make this book very useful.

    To sum up, a writer who understands story structure is far more likely to write reader engaging, page turning fiction than a writer who doesn’t understand the importance of it.  The value of a writing book is that it can help you be a better writer. ‘Structuring Your Novel...’  is already helping me craft better stories. 

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  • Posted August 24, 2013

    What I Loved I learned a lot just from the Table of Contents

    What I Loved




    I learned a lot just from the Table of Contents--and that was how I knew I was going to be fascinated by the rest of K.M. Weiland's latest release, Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story.




    "Story structure is deeply instinctual. Most readers don't know a thing about structure; but they do know when a story doesn't work because something in its structure is off. Same goes for authors. Many successful authors write without any knowledge of structure, and their stories still work because they're instinctively following the tenets of structure without even being aware of it." -- Chapter 13




    I was right. It only took me a few days to read this book, which is saying something when it comes to me and nonfiction. K.M. Weiland offers a thorough breakdown of what story structure means--a daunting task. Plus, she does it without being dry, boring, or overwhelming. I thought the terms and information would send my brain into overload, but Weiland remained witty and clear throughout.




    Full of examples of what she means, illustrations of her points, and applicable advice for writers who want to grasp what it means to structure their novel, this book is an excellent resource for plotters and pantsers, those who are familiar with the three-act structure and those who are not (yet).




    What I Didn't Like As Much




    During the first half of the book, I wished that the examples Weiland chose (which include Pride and Prejudice and It's A Wonderful Life) were slightly younger. I wanted to see her dissect The Hunger Games or one of her own novels, but over the course of the book, I began to appreciate what she was doing--using examples that had half a chance of being familiar to a wide audience. 




    (And I suppose using The Hunger Games would introduce far too many spoilers.)




    Why I Recommend This Book




    For writers who know exactly what In Medias Res means and for those who have never heard of the Hook or the Inciting Event, K.M. Weiland offers a book that will decode story structure in such a way as to keep the writer/reader engaged and reaching for paper to write down ideas. Examples enlighten. Application abounds. I highly recommend Structuring Your Novel.

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