What are some good resources to help with structuring a novel?

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Certainly! Crafting a well-structured novel is a crucial aspect of storytelling. In this comprehensive guide, I'll explore various resources to help you navigate the intricacies of novel structure, covering essential elements such as plot, character development, and pacing.

**1. **Books on Novel Structure:**

- *Save the Cat! Writes a Novel* by Jessica Brody: This book adapts screenwriting principles from the original *Save the Cat!* for novelists, offering insights into effective story structure and character development.

- *Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story* by K.M. Weiland: Weiland breaks down the elements of novel structure, guiding writers through key points like the three-act structure, character arcs, and thematic development.

- *The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller* by John Truby: Truby's book delves deep into the craft of storytelling, providing a comprehensive guide to constructing a compelling narrative with intricate character relationships.

**2. **Online Courses and Workshops:**

- *MasterClass - Neil Gaiman Teaches The Art of Storytelling:* Neil Gaiman, a renowned author, shares his insights into storytelling and structure. The course covers character development, world-building, and the essentials of crafting a captivating narrative.

- *Brandon Sanderson's Creative Writing Lectures:* Sanderson, a successful fantasy author, offers a series of creative writing lectures available on YouTube. These lectures cover various aspects of storytelling, including plotting and world-building.

- *Coursera - Writing Professional Emails and Memos:* While not specifically focused on novel structure, this course by the University of California, Irvine, provides valuable lessons on clear communication and organization—skills that translate well into novel writing.

**3. **Story Structure Software:**

- *Scrivener:* This writing software is popular among novelists for its organizational features. It allows you to break down your novel into scenes and chapters, making it easier to visualize and manage the overall structure.

- *Novel Factory:* This software provides a step-by-step guide to novel writing, helping authors with character development, plot structuring, and outlining. It's a comprehensive tool for writers looking to streamline their creative process.

**4. **Plotting Worksheets and Templates:**

- *Jami Gold's Worksheets:* Jami Gold, a romance author, offers a variety of free plotting worksheets on her website. These resources cover story structure, character arcs, and other essential elements to help writers organize their thoughts.

- *The Snowflake Method:* Created by Randy Ingermanson, the Snowflake Method is a step-by-step approach to designing a novel. It starts with a one-sentence summary and expands into a detailed plan, helping writers build a strong foundation.

**5. **Plotting and Structure Podcasts:**

- *Writing Excuses:* This podcast, hosted by well-known authors including Brandon Sanderson and Mary Robinette Kowal, covers various aspects of writing. Episodes often delve into plot structure, character development, and other crucial elements of storytelling.

- *The Story Grid Podcast:* Hosted by Shawn Coyne and Tim Grahl, this podcast analyzes books and discusses the principles of story structure. It's a valuable resource for understanding how successful novels are crafted.

**6. **Literary Analysis Books:**

- *How Fiction Works* by James Wood: While not specifically focused on structuring a novel, this book offers profound insights into the mechanics of fiction. It helps writers understand the nuances of storytelling and how literary elements contribute to a compelling narrative.

- *The Hero with a Thousand Faces* by Joseph Campbell: Campbell's exploration of the hero's journey is a classic in the study of myth and storytelling. Understanding the archetypal hero's journey can inform novel structure and character development.

**7. **Writer's Digest and Author Websites:**

- *Writer's Digest:* This website offers a plethora of articles, webinars, and resources on novel writing, including tips on structure, plot development, and character arcs.

- *Janice Hardy's Fiction University:* Janice Hardy provides valuable advice on various aspects of writing fiction. Her articles cover topics like plot structure, outlining, and revising, offering practical insights for novelists.

**8. **Outlining and Mind Mapping Tools:**

- *Scapple:* This mind-mapping tool helps writers visualize connections between ideas, characters, and plot points. It's a useful resource for outlining and planning the structure of your novel.

- *Aeon Timeline:* Aeon Timeline is a timeline tool that assists writers in organizing events, characters, and plot developments. It's particularly beneficial for authors working on complex narratives with intricate timelines.

**9. **Beta Readers and Writing Groups:**

- Seeking feedback from beta readers or participating in a writing group can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your novel's structure. Constructive criticism and diverse perspectives can help you refine your storytelling approach.

**10. **Literary Agents and Editors:**

- If you're aiming for traditional publishing, literary agents and editors can offer professional guidance on novel structure. Their expertise can help you refine your manuscript and enhance its marketability.


Crafting a well-structured novel is a dynamic and creative process. These resources, ranging from books and courses to software and podcasts, provide a wealth of guidance for writers at various stages of their journey. Whether you're outlining your first novel or revising a draft, incorporating these tools and insights can contribute to the development of a compelling and engaging narrative structure.

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