In writing class, our teachers made sure we understood how to write a five-paragraph theme: introduction, thesis sentence, points one, two, and three, followed by the conclusion. But rarely did any teacher tell us how to write fiction–they simply urged us to write a story.
But how is that done? Angela Hunt has been writing and teaching for thirty years, and she has boiled plotting down to the basics in thirty pages. Not only will you come away knowing how to plot, you’ll be able to point the important structural points in movies and other books you read. It’s all about the skeleton, Hunt says, and every working story has one.
(A condensed version of this lesson was originally published in A NOVEL IDEA, a collection of writer’s tips and techniques by published novelists.)
Enjoy this writing lesson for a fraction of the cost of attending one of Angela’s writing classes–your writing will never be the same.
Dr. Angela Hunt has published over 130 titles and sold more than 4 million books. That alone was enough to get me to try her Writing Lessons series. That and the fact that each one is about 30 pages in length. Additionally, she teaches writing workshops at schools and writers’ conferences, so she not only knows a thing or two about writing successful novels, but also has experience imparting her wisdom to other writers.
The Plot Skeleton breaks the plotting process down into a rather interesting analogy of the human skeleton beginning with the head and ending with the feet. While there is nothing new or earth shattering here, it does present an easy-to-follow organizational structure for creating a plot outline. She includes helpful examples to illustrate her points, making it pretty painless to grasp the concepts.
Even if you’re a pantser, it helps to have a basic understanding of your plot and where your story is going before you sit down to write. You don’t have to stick with your outline, it can ebb and flow with your writing, but if you don’t know where you’re going when you start, your story can meander, not really going anywhere. Personally, I hate the editing process, so the more work I can do up front to reduce the amount of editing required after the first draft, the better. While my story may not end up exactly as I conceived it, I know when I’m veering wildly off course if I have some sort of an outline before I start.
The first novel I wrote, The Union, has been through over 30 revisions. I wrote without an outline or any real understanding of where I was going other than I knew my storyworld, my protagonist’s story goal, and her hidden need. However, on the next three books I wrote in the series, I had a rough outline. Even though those aren’t polished yet, they’re a lot stronger structurally after early drafts than The Union was.
This is a quick and easy read that lays out the process for outlining your plot in a pretty straightforward way. Even if you don’t learn anything mind blowing, it’s a useful tool. I tend to glance through it before I sit down to write a new project. It never hurts to refresh my memory on what makes a strong plot, and skimming a 30-page book is a lot easier than a 300+ page book.
Title: The Plot Skeleton (Writing Lessons from the Front#1)
Author: Dr. Angela Hunt
Publisher: HuntHaven Press
Category: Writing Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links to Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble