#WritersRoad Chat Recap: Novel Structure

Last Monday night we had another fantastic chat that ended up trending on Twitter! The topic: Novel Structure That Will Hold up. Here are the highlights:

@Heather McCorkle Novels need structure. Think of them like a spine, with vertebrae connecting it all together. Each part is integral. #WritersRoad

@K_Imani: A good backbone also means specific details thought out when world building. #WritersRoad

@HeatherMcCorkle The first vertebrae introduces the situation and character. It sets the tone and what is at stake. #WritersRoad

@mayaprasadwrite2h Note that the midpoint in the structure is not always the midpoint length-wise. You can be flexible to an extent. #WritersRoad

@TS Tate (Tee) If u dont outline & dont know where ur going, try shooting for scene goals. "By the end of the scene ___ shld happen" #writersroad

@Heather McCorkle ‏ Once that first vertebrae is established, there should be a sense that the character must move forward to resolve something. #WritersRoad

@Tina Moss ‏ How do you feel about loose ends? I like things tied in bows, but sometimes one open subplot will lead to next book in series. #writersroad

@TS Tate (Tee) ‏@teetate And dont be afraid of structure. No one said u have to write in a certain chronology. Play around w/ it, make it interesting. #writersroad

@Krissi Dallas ‏ I find that conflict often drives a plot. How do you get characters to move? Introduce a conflict. Our lives are the same way! #writersroad

@HeatherMcCorkle: The middle of your book should be lean and athletic. No info dumping, keep things moving. #WritersRoad

@Tina Moss ‏ In fact all genres have some type of "formula" or more broadly a journey type. Unique voice is the key. #writersroad

@Heather McCorkle  Always remember that the spine~and your story~leads somewhere. #WritersRoad
@Krissi Dallas ‏ I think good plots have circular value. Like, the beginning is import to the end & the end makes you appreciate the beginning. #writersroad

@Heather McCorkle ‏ If your story~or spine~doesn't lead somewhere, it's like a body without a head. If you're writing a zombie novel that may work. #WritersRoad

@Maya Prasad ‏@mayaprasadwrite We shouldn't see the climax coming, but it should make sense given all we've learned about the character and the world #WritersRoad

@Heather McCorkle ‏ Think of subplots and character development like the nerves that come out from the spine. They all connect. #WritersRoad
@TS Tate (Tee) ‏@teetate It's simple really: intro, Inciting Incident, rising action, Crisis Point, climax, falling action, resolution. Boom. #writersroad

@Heather McCorkle ‏ Put simply: If nerve endings, well, just end, they'll die. Tie up all those loose ends! #WritersRoad

Join us tonight for another #WritersRoad chat on Twitter (via Tweetchat) and see what all the fuss is about!


  1. Great tips. Thanks for sharing them. I loved the one about having a goal for a scene and that there needs to be conflict.

    1. Thanks Natalie! Those are definitely two keys to a good scene.

  2. Great points, Heather. As a half punster/half outliner, my favorite structure is knowing the inciting incident, mid-book turning point, and way the story ends before I start writing; then writing toward those points. Let's me let my characters let loose a bit. :)

  3. Some wonderful and very pertinent bits of information here! Thanks, Heather for posting them!

    1. You're welcome! Thanks for dropping by Michael.

  4. Exciting to see that these have been trending! Good stuff :)

  5. It's very interesting to get other writers's thoughts on various topics.

  6. Heather, Thanks for sharing your chat! I was flying from NY to Amsterdam so missed another. But love this recap. Thank you!


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