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Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story

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Is Structure the Hidden Foundation of All Successful Stories? Why do some stories work and others don’t? The answer is structure. In this new guide from the author of the bestselling Outlining Your Novel, you will discover the universal underpinnings that guarantee powerful plot and character arcs. An understanding of proper story and scene structure will help you to not on Is Structure the Hidden Foundation of All Successful Stories? Why do some stories work and others don’t? The answer is structure. In this new guide from the author of the bestselling Outlining Your Novel, you will discover the universal underpinnings that guarantee powerful plot and character arcs. An understanding of proper story and scene structure will help you to not only perfectly time your story’s major events, but will also provide you with an unerring standard to use in evaluating your novel’s pacing and progression. Structuring Your Novel will show you: • How to determine the best methods for unleashing 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 on every page. • 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 empowered countless bestselling and classic authors. Now it’s your turn!


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Is Structure the Hidden Foundation of All Successful Stories? Why do some stories work and others don’t? The answer is structure. In this new guide from the author of the bestselling Outlining Your Novel, you will discover the universal underpinnings that guarantee powerful plot and character arcs. An understanding of proper story and scene structure will help you to not on Is Structure the Hidden Foundation of All Successful Stories? Why do some stories work and others don’t? The answer is structure. In this new guide from the author of the bestselling Outlining Your Novel, you will discover the universal underpinnings that guarantee powerful plot and character arcs. An understanding of proper story and scene structure will help you to not only perfectly time your story’s major events, but will also provide you with an unerring standard to use in evaluating your novel’s pacing and progression. Structuring Your Novel will show you: • How to determine the best methods for unleashing 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 on every page. • 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 empowered countless bestselling and classic authors. Now it’s your turn!

30 review for Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kellyn Roth

    Originally posted on Reveries Reviews 4.5 stars This book changed the way I look at story structure. It’s changed the way I look at the dramatic arc. At the books I read and the movies I watch. At the way I outline and write and revise. Structuring Your Novel is a nonfiction book about writing … more specifically about story structure. It starts with a detailed look at the structure of a novel. It shows you the entire story arc in a new way, giving tips for writing each tiny little detail of the dr Originally posted on Reveries Reviews 4.5 stars This book changed the way I look at story structure. It’s changed the way I look at the dramatic arc. At the books I read and the movies I watch. At the way I outline and write and revise. Structuring Your Novel is a nonfiction book about writing … more specifically about story structure. It starts with a detailed look at the structure of a novel. It shows you the entire story arc in a new way, giving tips for writing each tiny little detail of the dramatic arc. This was very useful, even as someone who knows the dramatic arc fairly well. Next, it moves on to scene structure. I’d never really thought much about scene structure, so this was an eye-opened for me. I read this section through more than once! It was very informative. The only thing I didn’t find useful was the chapter on sentence structure. It didn’t really help me, mostly because I learned most of that in grade school and the rest from noveling blogs, other writing books, and practical experience. Still, it may be useful to other people. K.M. Weiland writes in an entertaining style, but she also grinds the facts into your head in a way that really makes them stick with you. Her examples from popular fiction (old and new) were very useful in helping me grasp the concepts she introduces. But don’t worry if you don’t read a lot (shame on you; why are you trying to write?!). Even if I hadn’t read the books/watched the movies (which I didn’t with two of them), I would have understood, which was nice. I’d recommend this book to any writer who wishes to improve their craft. It’s definitely worth your time! ~Kellyn Roth, Reveries Reviews

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Baker

    I own a lot of writing advice books. Many of them have been sitting on my shelf unread because I thought they were going to be the equivalent of a dry, boring textbook. Most of them have been both educational and entertaining, inspiring me to keep reading more of them. I just didn't love this book as much as most people. I'd put this in the "dry, boring textbook" category. Two-thirds of the content I've read in other advice books, so there really wasn't much new for me to learn, especially the s I own a lot of writing advice books. Many of them have been sitting on my shelf unread because I thought they were going to be the equivalent of a dry, boring textbook. Most of them have been both educational and entertaining, inspiring me to keep reading more of them. I just didn't love this book as much as most people. I'd put this in the "dry, boring textbook" category. Two-thirds of the content I've read in other advice books, so there really wasn't much new for me to learn, especially the section on story structure. Although I was already familiar with scene structure, I did get some useful information and it was a nice refresher. The geeky side of me liked the section on sentence structure. I enjoyed some of her references, both fiction and nonfiction. Her fiction references include Pride & Prejudice and Ender's Game, among others. Her nonfiction references are some of my favorite books, Reading Like a Writer and The Anatomy of Story. I don't think I was the right audience for this book because it seems to be more suitable for people who have never read a writing advice book before. If you're one of those types of readers, then this is the book that you'd want to read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    If you only buy one writing craft book this year, buy this one. K.M. Weiland has, for years, provided sound advice on writing in her very popular blog, Wordplay http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthor.... She has the rare ability to de-mystify topics that baffle so many writers. She takes concepts that seem thoroughly confusing, wrestles them down to the ground and makes them give up their secrets. She uses explanations and examples that are like turning a light on in a dark room. Her writing style If you only buy one writing craft book this year, buy this one. K.M. Weiland has, for years, provided sound advice on writing in her very popular blog, Wordplay http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthor.... She has the rare ability to de-mystify topics that baffle so many writers. She takes concepts that seem thoroughly confusing, wrestles them down to the ground and makes them give up their secrets. She uses explanations and examples that are like turning a light on in a dark room. Her writing style is comfortable and easy to follow. It's like having her over for coffee and having that long, detailed discussion about writing with someone that really knows their stuff. I heartily recommend this book as a must have for all writers that want to become authors. This will take an honored place in your craft library and you will return to it time and again for reference.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Harley Christensen

    Finally…Story, Scene and Sentence Structure Simplified In Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story, K.M. Weiland demystifies the concept of structure that is, as she aptly coins it, “…the single most overlooked, misunderstood - and yet important - part of storytelling." From our story’s initial hook to the closing line, Weiland details the importance of structure and how to effectively incorporate it, while avoiding those pesky pitfalls that plague authors at any lev Finally…Story, Scene and Sentence Structure Simplified In Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story, K.M. Weiland demystifies the concept of structure that is, as she aptly coins it, “…the single most overlooked, misunderstood - and yet important - part of storytelling." From our story’s initial hook to the closing line, Weiland details the importance of structure and how to effectively incorporate it, while avoiding those pesky pitfalls that plague authors at any level. Along the way she provides us with informative discussions on prologue, dream sequence, backstory, subplot, character arc and epilogue, along with tips for improving the presentation of scenes and chapters as our stories progress. I personally found her discussion on plot vs. scene goals extremely helpful, as well as the examples she provided at the end of every chapter. There’s even a takeaway checklist that follows up on key points. From start to finish, it’s clear this book was written by someone who truly understands (and loves) the craft of writing, as well as the needs of writers and authors on all levels. It’s a must-have in the library of anyone writing (or thinking about writing) a novel. On a side note, if you aren’t already following her blog - Helping Writers Become Authors - I highly encourage you to check it out!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kayci Morgan

    Sometimes I feel like K.M. Weiland is the person that taught me how to write. From the day I was first linked to her website, I combed through it, absorbing everything I could about story structure. Her insights changed the way I look at a story and while I used to be able to fumble through and write something engaging 80 or 90% of the time, now that I know the things that make a story engaging, I can avoid, long, plotless, character sketches masquerading as stories. This book has all the things Sometimes I feel like K.M. Weiland is the person that taught me how to write. From the day I was first linked to her website, I combed through it, absorbing everything I could about story structure. Her insights changed the way I look at a story and while I used to be able to fumble through and write something engaging 80 or 90% of the time, now that I know the things that make a story engaging, I can avoid, long, plotless, character sketches masquerading as stories. This book has all the things I've learned from her site and more, all packaged in a clear, easy-to-read format. It was a joy to read (I don't think I've ever sat down and read an instructional text from beginning to end as if it were a novel before now) and I feel like I've learned even more about writing. I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in improving their craft. It's a game changer.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hope Ann

    A must read for any writer!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rich Weatherly

    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 b 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.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Emily Wemily

    3.5 This was pretty good. It was split into three main parts: 1. Structuring a novel as a whole (First 60%) 2. Structuring scenes (middling 30%) 3. Structuring sentences (last 10% of book) I got the most use out of the first part and found it especially easy to read, since I already familiar with Weiland's style of writing. It's very clear, with plentiful examples, and it's been great to read through while reviewing my novel's draft to see where I can improve it. Great self-reflection questions at t 3.5 This was pretty good. It was split into three main parts: 1. Structuring a novel as a whole (First 60%) 2. Structuring scenes (middling 30%) 3. Structuring sentences (last 10% of book) I got the most use out of the first part and found it especially easy to read, since I already familiar with Weiland's style of writing. It's very clear, with plentiful examples, and it's been great to read through while reviewing my novel's draft to see where I can improve it. Great self-reflection questions at the end of each chapter. I took some points off since this could have been boiled down to something shorter. Also, I didn't find the latter half of the book as useful as the first half, because some of Weiland's advice seemed very obvious, but perhaps other readers (and writers!) will appreciate it. Overall, solid book on novel writing. I'm glad I read it and I would recommend it to others.

  9. 5 out of 5

    stormin

    In many ways, this book was like a revelation for me, although my revelations may be embarrassingly naive to folks who already know this. First simple but crucial thing I learned: not all the acts in a 3-act structure are equal in length. In particular, the 2nd act it actually twice as long as the first or third. Everything makes sense now! I've tried to apply 3-act structure to movies or books a couple of times, always looking for the scene transitions at the 1/3 mark, and I could never find the In many ways, this book was like a revelation for me, although my revelations may be embarrassingly naive to folks who already know this. First simple but crucial thing I learned: not all the acts in a 3-act structure are equal in length. In particular, the 2nd act it actually twice as long as the first or third. Everything makes sense now! I've tried to apply 3-act structure to movies or books a couple of times, always looking for the scene transitions at the 1/3 mark, and I could never find them. Now I know why. I also finally figured out why dream sequence and false tension are such terrible ways to start books. The hook--what draws a person--works better than a perceived need for instant-action. I think I've actually fallen for this one several times in my own stories. :-( So, if these sound like things you already learned, perhaps it's not the book for you, but it made a believer out of me. I can see how several stories / outlines I've been noodling with can be improved by applying her 10-step analysis: 1. Hook 2. Inciting Event 3. Key Point 4. 1st Plot Point 5. 1st Half of Second Act 6. Midpoint (2nd Plot Point) 7. 2nd Half of Second Act 8. 3rd Plot Point 9. Climax 10. Resolution Going into the details of all of these 10 steps takes up about the 1st half of the book. The second half is devoted to scene structure instead of plot structure, which has three components: 1. Scene 2. Disaster 3. Sequel I don't really like the terminology, but the idea is that you have conflict (scene), then a resolution that spawns a new conflict (disaster), and then a quiet period for showing consequences / character progression (sequel). This was also really helpful. You get told to "show, but don't tell." One of the most important things for me to learn has been that not to try and show everything. Telling is an important part of writing. Same idea here: young writers (like me) think everything has to be all action / conflict all the time. But you actually need the non-action elements (sequels) just as much. There's also a QA section at the end, although my biggest questions weren't answered to my satisfaction. First, I want to know about multi-book plot structure. The line between book and trilogy is kind of blurry, after all (i.e. Lord of the Rings) and even bigger works like Harry Potter (7 books) have a single, cohesive structure. Is it also 3-act? How do you do plotting for very large-scale works? Not much help here. Also: how do you handle multiple POV characters? This was quasi-addressed, but there's still uncertainty for me about whether they each have their own parallel 3-act structures or if the story is distinct, and they each just have different perspectives on a single 3-act plot. Still, it's a great, clear, useful (I hope!) book and the primary examples (Ender's Game, Master & Commander: Far Side of the World, and Pride and Prejudice) do a good job of illustrating the various elements. Definitely one I'm going to read again, and I'm already eager to rewatch Harry Potter (and reread) and apply the 3-act structure to see what I can learn.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jan Marshall

    I'm currently writing my first novel and have bought lots of books on the craft of writing, and particularly on structure, without finding the "right" book for me. I've never understood the rules completely: what the options are and what's carved in stone, whether I can I move an event to another place in my book, break the rules, etc. But I do believe I can stop searching now, because KM Weiland's book has eventually made it all fall into place. I put this down to three things: 1) Ms Weiland doe I'm currently writing my first novel and have bought lots of books on the craft of writing, and particularly on structure, without finding the "right" book for me. I've never understood the rules completely: what the options are and what's carved in stone, whether I can I move an event to another place in my book, break the rules, etc. But I do believe I can stop searching now, because KM Weiland's book has eventually made it all fall into place. I put this down to three things: 1) Ms Weiland doesn't treat structure as a dry old skeleton with no life; she puts flesh on its bones by combining it with the other aspects of writing that impact on and enrich novel structure — things like character, conflict, setting, backstory, sentence construction, and more. 2) Complementing the excellent subject matter is a well-organised format with a comprehensive and logical table of contents, and clear headings throughout the text. These aid smooth learning and make the book convenient to dip into, perhaps for a reminder on a particular point. 3) KM Weiland's friendly voice and her amazing talent for clear and simple communication make the various concepts easy to read and understand. And, if there were ever any boring bits in this book (which I doubt), they were removed before publishing! I loved it and I thoroughly recommend it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rae Sengele

    While I found this book interesting enough, it was way too prescriptive for my liking. I've been finding more and more that KM Weiland likes to tell you that her way of writing is the only way of writing, and this book especially is bad about that. This isn't a book about structure, it's a book on how KM Weiland approaches structure. Turns out she's extremely fond of the "Hollywood" standard of writing, which clings WAY too steadfastly to its precious three acts, and she's very quick to tell you While I found this book interesting enough, it was way too prescriptive for my liking. I've been finding more and more that KM Weiland likes to tell you that her way of writing is the only way of writing, and this book especially is bad about that. This isn't a book about structure, it's a book on how KM Weiland approaches structure. Turns out she's extremely fond of the "Hollywood" standard of writing, which clings WAY too steadfastly to its precious three acts, and she's very quick to tell you that if you deviate from those three acts your book will fail, which is by no means the case. I would have liked this book much more if she had explored the many variations on structure that exist rather than only presenting the three acts and leaving it at that. I guess I'm just tired of hearing people hand out rigid advice that encourages writers not to experiment with writing. Too many writers are more concerned with marketability than they are with telling a story and it's sad to see so many people accept their word as fact.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rachelle Cobb

    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 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.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kelsea

    Once you've read enough writing books, you start to find that they nearly all contain 85-90% advice you've heard before or figured out on your own. But if you're like me, you continue reading them for that 10-15% of new and useful content, because every piece helps when it comes to writing that damn book. But once in a while, you come across a gem of a book that flips the ratio. I've read about the three act structure plenty of times. But never has it been explained so well, in so much detail, wi Once you've read enough writing books, you start to find that they nearly all contain 85-90% advice you've heard before or figured out on your own. But if you're like me, you continue reading them for that 10-15% of new and useful content, because every piece helps when it comes to writing that damn book. But once in a while, you come across a gem of a book that flips the ratio. I've read about the three act structure plenty of times. But never has it been explained so well, in so much detail, with such easy-to-understand, relevant examples. I remember reading all of those textbooks in school that were full of those diagrams (see "figure 12.4"). And maybe they just clashed with my personal learning style, but those diagrams never actually meant anything to me. Like, I could memorize and draw them on command, but they still didn't hold the key to unlocking any concepts for me. That's what the three act structure felt like in every other writing book/instance where I've encountered it. K.M. Weiland brings it to life. For the first time, I feel like I understand the structure, the important points in the story and why they matter. And beyond that, how to make them useful. That would've been enough to make this book worthwhile. But then Weiland has a whole section on scene structure. And what do you know? I don't think I've ever read or heard ANYTHING about scene structure, period. Little pieces of advice ("yes, but", "end each chapter on a cliffhanger", etc.), sure. But completely mapping it out the way people map out story structure? And treating it as just as important? That was completely new to me. And it made so, so much sense! I could go on and on about this book, but I'll stop there because finishing this book has me inspired to GO WRITE! So I'm gonna do that now. If you have a hard time with story structure like I do, please do yourself a favor and pick up this incredible book!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Angell Johnson

    This book is brilliant and practical for writers of all genres. For years on end I had been info dumping the entire backstory in the first chapters of my previous novels. She introduces the p/p/f dimensions of every scene which simplifies the work in scattering backstory and keeping your story interesting and engaging. I first discovered her from her short and sweet YouTube videos, and I just had to read her work. Her words have pushed me to go harder and read longer after hearing her speak for This book is brilliant and practical for writers of all genres. For years on end I had been info dumping the entire backstory in the first chapters of my previous novels. She introduces the p/p/f dimensions of every scene which simplifies the work in scattering backstory and keeping your story interesting and engaging. I first discovered her from her short and sweet YouTube videos, and I just had to read her work. Her words have pushed me to go harder and read longer after hearing her speak for only two minutes. Five stars hands down, this book is the answer to a struggling writer’s prayers. I’m sure I’ll love her novels.

  15. 4 out of 5

    E.D. Martin

    Author K.M. Weiland does a bit of everything - writing fantasy and speculative fiction, mentoring new writers, and blogging helpful tips about the writing process. Her new book, Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story, is a must-read for anyone writing a novel, no matter what stage she's at in the process. The book is a companion to her Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success. Part one walks writers through the basic structure of a 3-act story, from writing a Author K.M. Weiland does a bit of everything - writing fantasy and speculative fiction, mentoring new writers, and blogging helpful tips about the writing process. Her new book, Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story, is a must-read for anyone writing a novel, no matter what stage she's at in the process. The book is a companion to her Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success. Part one walks writers through the basic structure of a 3-act story, from writing a strong opening hook, setting the tone and defining the setting, to writing an ending that readers will love. Part two focuses on scene development. She delves into Randy Ingermanson's scene/sequel (action/reaction) idea, expanding on it with ideas for scene disasters, conflicts, dilemmas, and decisions, as well as variations that still work in the context of a structured scene. Part three is about structuring your sentence - about what makes prose good. This for me was the most helpful section and what I'd be most likely to refer to other writers. She covers participles and parallelism (a huge thing for me), run-ons and fragments, as well as how to get rid of stuff you don't need, like modifiers and filter words. Throughout the book, Weiland gives detailed examples from movies and books, as well as coming back to the same four in every chapter: Pride and Prejudice, It's a Wonderful Life, Ender's Game, and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. It's her examples that really make this book useful; it's one thing to tell us about a concept, but much better to show us through real-life examples. Overall, this is probably one of the most helpful writing books I've read, and one I definitely want on my shelf.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Catherine ~All for the greater glory of God~

    Rating: 4 stars Rating Reason: This book is practical and to the point. It's well-organized and obviously carefully planned. It's an interesting topic, since much of it is instinctive. I encourage you to go into this book with the same mindset I encourage for all writing books: You're building your toolbox of writing tools... and you get to decide what goes in it. I am not saying the things in this book aren't useful and important, however. Writing books just tend to be a bit conceited (again, Rating: 4 stars Rating Reason: This book is practical and to the point. It's well-organized and obviously carefully planned. It's an interesting topic, since much of it is instinctive. I encourage you to go into this book with the same mindset I encourage for all writing books: You're building your toolbox of writing tools... and you get to decide what goes in it. I am not saying the things in this book aren't useful and important, however. Writing books just tend to be a bit conceited (again, speaking generally), so you're more likely to appreciate them with this mindset. One complaint I have is this: without reading/watching at least one of the four examples used continually throughout the book, you won't get as much out of it. Pride and Prejudice is the primary example, so I highly recommend reading it beforehand.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Serena W. Sorrell

    After zipping through Outlining Your Novel in one day I ravenously bought Structuring Your Novel. My thought process was that KM Weiland had presented OYN in such a fantastic, concise, and approachable manner full of authorial interjections that SYN was sure to illuminate points of structure I may be unfamiliar with. Alas, it was not to be. I found SYN to be repetitive and grueling to read through. It read more like a text book and a skipping record. It lacked the more intimate feel I had come t After zipping through Outlining Your Novel in one day I ravenously bought Structuring Your Novel. My thought process was that KM Weiland had presented OYN in such a fantastic, concise, and approachable manner full of authorial interjections that SYN was sure to illuminate points of structure I may be unfamiliar with. Alas, it was not to be. I found SYN to be repetitive and grueling to read through. It read more like a text book and a skipping record. It lacked the more intimate feel I had come to expect after OYN and instead read like a dry lecture. I still learned from it. It just wasn't at all an enjoyable lesson. Still useful, though the bulk of useful information lies in the first 60%.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nina Arce

    Despite having attempted numerous resources on the subject, I've always been somewhat mystified by story structure. I'm definitely one of those writers who has worked off some kind of instinctive feeling for many of these concepts, but struggled with the ones I didn't know without really being able to identify why. This book helped me realise some of my personal structural weak points. I'm happy I found it when I did, as I will now be able to incorporate what I learned into ongoing projects and Despite having attempted numerous resources on the subject, I've always been somewhat mystified by story structure. I'm definitely one of those writers who has worked off some kind of instinctive feeling for many of these concepts, but struggled with the ones I didn't know without really being able to identify why. This book helped me realise some of my personal structural weak points. I'm happy I found it when I did, as I will now be able to incorporate what I learned into ongoing projects and undoubtedly improve them.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    Review to come. As usual, K.M. Weiland hits home with explaining the ins and outs of novel writing, this time with a specific focus on structuring a novel in its basic facets. I'd recommend this for reading alongside "Outlining Your Novel" - it works really well. Review to come. As usual, K.M. Weiland hits home with explaining the ins and outs of novel writing, this time with a specific focus on structuring a novel in its basic facets. I'd recommend this for reading alongside "Outlining Your Novel" - it works really well.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Edmund

    For those who don't know them, Weiland manages a writer's website, regularly releasing podcasts and posts to aid writers with all the various elements of fiction, and even if you don't read this book I highly recommend subscribing. Structuring your novel is a thorough dive into novel arcs, scenes and sentence structure. I personally found the Scene section the most useful analysis, although there is enough material to help many throughout the book. I would have liked to hear more about individual For those who don't know them, Weiland manages a writer's website, regularly releasing podcasts and posts to aid writers with all the various elements of fiction, and even if you don't read this book I highly recommend subscribing. Structuring your novel is a thorough dive into novel arcs, scenes and sentence structure. I personally found the Scene section the most useful analysis, although there is enough material to help many throughout the book. I would have liked to hear more about individual sentence structure, although in some ways I found this to be bonus material as I didn't really expect prose advice in a book on 'structure' (although it kind of makes sense) Weiland presents a very no-frills approach on advice on writing, complete with direct language and clear examples, I confess at times I don't mind a little verbiage in my non-fiction especially on writing as, well, its about writing so I expect some good words. Overall however a good read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nika

    This an extremely insightful book on the craft of writing fiction. As I read this, I realized a lot of mistakes that I've made in the past, and I can't wait to try these guidelines. I am not giving it 5 stars yet because I haven't tried her techniques ... but I think they will help. This an extremely insightful book on the craft of writing fiction. As I read this, I realized a lot of mistakes that I've made in the past, and I can't wait to try these guidelines. I am not giving it 5 stars yet because I haven't tried her techniques ... but I think they will help.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Fendrich

    Another excellent writing guide from KM Weiland. This one is a lot longer than the others I've read from her, so I had to take it in bits and pieces. Honestly, I prefer her shorter works, that cover specific topics, but this one is still really great. Her ending with sentence structure tips was a refreshing reminder. Another excellent writing guide from KM Weiland. This one is a lot longer than the others I've read from her, so I had to take it in bits and pieces. Honestly, I prefer her shorter works, that cover specific topics, but this one is still really great. Her ending with sentence structure tips was a refreshing reminder.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Miloš

    Opened my eyes in so many ways...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gabriel

    I'm not going to rag on a plot structure book for being too prescriptive, because that's what you go to a plot structure book for, right? You go in with your grain of salt for some help and inspiration on the connective tissue of your storytelling, presumably because you've already got plenty of things to inspire you for the meat. If there's one thing I don't really need help with, it's encouragement to break the rules and follow my heart--I'm already following my heart, it's how I got into this I'm not going to rag on a plot structure book for being too prescriptive, because that's what you go to a plot structure book for, right? You go in with your grain of salt for some help and inspiration on the connective tissue of your storytelling, presumably because you've already got plenty of things to inspire you for the meat. If there's one thing I don't really need help with, it's encouragement to break the rules and follow my heart--I'm already following my heart, it's how I got into this damned hobby. So yeah, I appreciate when books of advice provide advice. My favorite part was probably the first, because it had some interesting things to say about beginnings that hold true for more things than I'd thought about. Then I also liked the stuff about scene structure in part 2; you can find a lot of advice on really broad, three-act Save-the-Cat-y structure, and I can tell in a lot of failed books that they really did think they were developing a three-act structure, but they had no idea why it was puttering and falling over constantly. The scene structure part of this book is good for that. It gave me some terms and standards to keep in mind. But I've read a lot of books that talk about three-act structure, and I don't think it's something that warrants this many pages. The weakest aspect of this book was all the overexplanation of concepts that explain themselves in their names--oh, also I think it failed to sell most readers on the concept of conflict? Like, I actually do agree that, regardless of audience and ambition, almost all stories do need constant conflict: but the reason that sounds so corny and hammy is because the word 'conflict' is so ill-defined and people just imagine constant shouting matches and unlikely disasters and traffic jams and are like 'well, I'm not writing an action movie that takes place over 2 hours realtime!' Sure, but that's not what that means. However, I dunno if this book really explained that very well. So I suspect some people are going to walk away going "well, I'm not writing some lame Hollywood stuff, I have bigger dreams..." and toss that advice in the bin and end up writing sludge. So yeah. The funniest thing about it was there's a chapter-beginning quote by William Shatner at one point and it has a [sic] in it for an odd turn of phrase he uses. I've never seen someone include a [sic] in an inspirational quote before.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rosanne Hawke

    I can remember asking my uni supervisor how to structure a novel and he said it boils down to the character and he was right of course but I was after an easy fix -- I would have liked reading Structuring your Novel when I was beginning to write novels. In the absence of Kay Weiland's book I pulled apart novels that I felt worked well and decided what it was which made me feel that, and, as I was told, to 'work more on character'. Structuring your novel is helpful when writing genre but those no I can remember asking my uni supervisor how to structure a novel and he said it boils down to the character and he was right of course but I was after an easy fix -- I would have liked reading Structuring your Novel when I was beginning to write novels. In the absence of Kay Weiland's book I pulled apart novels that I felt worked well and decided what it was which made me feel that, and, as I was told, to 'work more on character'. Structuring your novel is helpful when writing genre but those not writing genre are concerned lest formula takes over and stifles creativity. As Somerset Maugham said, there are no rules, but this sort of book can certainly give help if we get stuck. I found some good reminders: the more similar the hero and villain, the stronger the story and more realistic the characters; building conflict raises stakes; conflict is the life blood of fiction, and works when the characters are acting honestly; a good reminder not to resolve too fast, and don't be too easy on your characters. My supervisor always said to push the characters, and see what they will do. Interesting section on the difference between conflict and tension. Good to see the section on writing scenes. When judging a writing competition I was surprised to see a lack of scene writing-- summary and report and even monologues but not many scenes. I gave prizes to the writers who wrote in scenes. Kay Weiland also includes good writing practice at sentence level. So glad she gives reasons for not doing such things as starting sentences with participle verbs (I.e. an 'ing' verb). A very helpful book for those who like rules or a plan to follow. Not everyone does -- some just write and see what happens.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Caitlyn Lynch

    Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys For Writing An Outstanding Story is a really useful tool for writers who haven’t been formally educated in the craft of writing and language structure (like myself). K.M. Weiland carefully breaks down, using references with which most people will be familiar, just what goes into making up a successful story and how to replicate that successful structure when planning and writing your own. While the examples given are in some cases films, they are all based o Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys For Writing An Outstanding Story is a really useful tool for writers who haven’t been formally educated in the craft of writing and language structure (like myself). K.M. Weiland carefully breaks down, using references with which most people will be familiar, just what goes into making up a successful story and how to replicate that successful structure when planning and writing your own. While the examples given are in some cases films, they are all based on successful books, illustrating the fact that story structure is pretty universal across both screenplays and novels. Weiland breaks down the structure of story into first the three acts with which many may already be familiar, and then further into the specific turning points and events and where they should occur within the story. Finally, she breaks down how to write a scene, with action, sequel and setup for the next scene. I’ve read a number of books on the structure of story before and found some of them really heavy going, but this one is easy to understand, with examples I was familiar with. I got a lot out of it, useful techniques I hope to apply going forward. If you are a writer, or have ambitions to be one, and you haven’t formally studied creative writing or story structure, I highly recommend this book. It’s definitely made me look at my own scenes with a more critical eye and helped me understand why some of them are falling flat. Five stars.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Donniesands

    I had an overall positive experience reading this simple how-to guide writing book. I would say the major positives would be: 1. A fantastic break down of "scenes" in the second half. Weiland excellently breaks down scenes into meaningful segments that can be used as practical guidance for creating scenes. This half is indispensable and makes up for any issues I have with other weaker aspects of it. I have already started using it for every one of my scenes in the story I'm working on. 2. Strong e I had an overall positive experience reading this simple how-to guide writing book. I would say the major positives would be: 1. A fantastic break down of "scenes" in the second half. Weiland excellently breaks down scenes into meaningful segments that can be used as practical guidance for creating scenes. This half is indispensable and makes up for any issues I have with other weaker aspects of it. I have already started using it for every one of my scenes in the story I'm working on. 2. Strong examples from Enders Game and Pride and Prejudice throughout the book were usually well presented I also had a few issues with the book 1. The first half of the book doesn't go into quite enough practical detail on elements of overall story structure. 2. There arn't many practical guides to making these elements work 3. Master and Commander as well as Its a Wonderful Life, although I enjoyed these films, served as weak examples of what elements the author was trying to represent Overall good guide for starting writers and excellent scene guide for advancing writers.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    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 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.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Roberts

    Thorough and fresh, this guide breaks story, scenes, and sentences down into manageable, logical bits. Text can be read straight through or used as a workbook, either during outlining or as a help in editing. The chapters on story were outstanding. The section on scenes useful. The last section on sentences is a good guide for beginning or untrained writers. Recommended. I used it as a step-by-step-guide, taking me through a six-month edit of my novel.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Berto

    Great resource. Practical and easy to understand. I'm a visual learner, so often I find it hard to understand new ideas and concepts in reading. I work best when I can create a mindmap, put together pieces or actually write things out. This book is one of the few times I absorbed it without trouble. I highly recommend this Writing book! Great resource. Practical and easy to understand. I'm a visual learner, so often I find it hard to understand new ideas and concepts in reading. I work best when I can create a mindmap, put together pieces or actually write things out. This book is one of the few times I absorbed it without trouble. I highly recommend this Writing book!

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