**I’m guessing Fun Friday wasn’t fun…? Bummer.
Well, you can’t say I didn’t try. **
The closest thing to a rule book for writing a strong novel is the narrative structure. There are five elements to use. The first…wait, go ––get a pen and paper. You will want to take notes here or print it off. Whichever works best for ya.
Step one: An inciting incident. A whosie-whatsit? An inciting incident is a dynamic event that upsets the balance in a character/characters life/lives. The remainder of the story should be your protagonist trying to restore that balance.
My, almost, inciting incident was walking into the kitchen this morning to an empty coffeepot. Now, I know I set up the pot last night and it runs on a timer (thank the gods) so there was no reason for the pot to be empty except… I picked up the offending pot and walked into the living room where the Hubs sat watching the morning news.
“Where’s all the coffee?” I calmly (kinda) asked.
“That’s not an answer.”
“I’ll make some more.”
“Yes. Yes, you will. We cannot afford bail money on a Monday morning.”
“Right.” He then made a fresh pot. That is also when he told me I only set the pot up to make half a pot. My bad.
And so, my morning coffee was late. It could have been a very, very, very bad thing. Like an inciting incident leading to something big and bad.
Good morning! I have a fresh cuppa! Run along and get something delish to nibble on and have a cuppa. It is a nearly full pot after all. I will see you on the reading rug. Don’t forget your copy of The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer. We are on page 74.
A Series of Progressive Complications
Step Two: progressive complications over the course of chapters escalates the conflict in the story. Suspense is important to any story. It doesn’t matter what kind of story it is; suspense is invaluable. No? You don’t agree?
Okay, think about something as silly as an episode of Scooby Doo. There is suspense there. Who is the bad guy and why are they doing the bad stuff? The group must investigate the scary place to find the reason it is a scary place to figure out who the bad guy is. That is suspense in its purest form.
Suspense in a thriller can be a subtle as a ticking clock or an empty rocking chair rocking. In the Mystery genre you will find it lacks a lot of suspense. It is all about the research and investigation. This is more the case if it is a one-time murder scenario. If you aren’t dealing with a serial killer, there is no ticking clock to find them before they kill again. Just remember suspense is a building of emotion for the reader. Throwing in a surprise isn’t suspense. It isn’t suspense because there wasn’t and build up.
Step Three: At the point a crisis occurs in the story the protagonist is forced to decide if they will or will not act. Do you save the guy in distress? Yes, guys can be in distress too. Geesh. This can also build the suspense you so need in a good story. Will they or won’t they kind of suspense.
Step Four: The balance is either restored or a new balance has been found. This is the scene where your protagonist and antagonist bring a conclusion to the inciting incident that occurred at the beginning of your story.
Step Five: That’s a wrap! This is where you clean up and end every plot point and subplot points. Do not leave dangly bits unless this is a series.
One extra benefit behind the narrative structure is in the plotting of your story. Ask yourself what you want to do for each of the five steps. What is your inciting incident? What started the entire story? What are the complications? Give your protagonist a few (3-ish). Crisis? Climax? Resolution?
If you can answer all five while plotting you have a great start.
What’s up next? Me getting another cuppa and reading through the next section. Plot, and Show, Don’t Tell. Fun.
Until next time, friends…
Please remember that I am not trying to write this book for you word for word. I am skipping a lot of detail. I highly suggest you purchase the book and read between the lines.
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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2 thoughts on “Narrative Structure”
very helpful! Thank you!
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You are very welcome. Is there anything else you would like me to cover in the future?
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