Anatomy of a Novel

Word. (Your topic/genre.)

Many words strung together in a logical manner make a sentence. (Your thesis: Why are you writing this novel?)

            About five to six sentences form a paragraph. There can be more than six or less than five. It’s up to you as the writer. A paragraph can consist of internal monologue or descriptions. It can also recount a memory. (Your introductory paragraph. Introduce your characters, their family, their history, their goals, their flaws, etc)

Multiple paragraphs, in addition to dialogue, create a scene. Each scene must have tension or conflict. Otherwise, it is irrelevant. If the scene does not add tension to the plot it is not doing its job. Cut it. (Your first outline – always by your side and in constant need of revision.)

Two or more scenes (generally) make up a chapter. A chapter can be one scene, but that would be a poor, tensionless chapter. Each chapter should end with a tidbit that whets the reader’s appetite and keeps them reading. Each chapter is self contained, yet not. (Your body. Tell your story as you see fit.)

Two or more chapters create a story. Together all the chapters of a novel tell the story. They connect, transition flawlessly. They are not contained, but depend on the previous chapter to keep the story running and coherent. (Your final draft, fully researched and articulately argued. Everything wrapped in a neat bow.)


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