12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction


I have been planning out the novel that I will write for NaNoWriMo this year. It will be a sci-fi / fantasy adventure combining several of the ideas that I had mentioned in my previous post.

I’m still constructing the pillars that will structure the story, so I’m not going to talk about my idea yet. I will say more about it once it has been fleshed out better.

The purpose of this particular blog entry is to share some valuable information with other authors and aspiring novelists.

I have recently discovered an excellent writing blog called, “Live Write Thrive,” by author and editor C. S. Lakin.

Each year, Lakin writes a year-long series that focuses on one important aspect of writing a novel. In 2012, it was about the heart of your story. Her series in 2013 teaches how to shoot your novel (i.e. write description that makes the novel play like a movie in the readers’ minds).

Lakin’s series for 2014 is particularly useful. This year, she delves into the 12 key pillars of novel construction.

These pillars are:

  1. Concept… with a kicker
  2. Conflict… with high stakes
  3. Protagonist… with a goal
  4. Theme… with a heart
  5. Plot and subplots… in a string of scenes
  6. Secondary characters… with their own needs
  7. Setting… with a purpose
  8. Tension… ramped to the max
  9. Dialog… compressed and essential
  10. Voice… unique for each character
  11. Writing style… concise and specific
  12. Motifs… for cohesion and depth

Along with handing out great advice for each of these pillars, she also provides handy checklists to help you construct each one, ensuring that your novel covers everything that it should.

I highly recommend checking out this blog series if you are interested in writing a novel. The checklists ask great questions to get you thinking about different angles in your story.

Are you planning on taking the NaNoWriMo challenge this year? How are you preparing your story?

Novel Construction

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