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Putting it all together

Plan your novel

Putting it all together

So far in this series of blog posts on how to plan a novel, we’ve looked at:

What do all of these ideas have in common?

Essentially, we’ve been discussing the techniques that enable you to reach out and connect to your readers. We started with the stories you love for a reason.

  • Rather than starting with structuring or outlining, you looked at stories as a reader.
  • You decided what makes you love certain stories
  • And identified some of the techniques your favourite writers use to keep you hooked.

Connecting to your readers

Connecting to your readers is so important  but it often gets forgotten at the planning stage when we’re thinking about structure and the building blocks of a novel. We’re putting that emotional connection readers feel when they read upfront, rather than launching straight into outlining. Why? Because it means your novel will be built from the beginning with the reader in mind.

How can I use these three exercises to plan a novel?

In the previous three blog posts, you’ve learnt three powerful exercises – story exploring, three key scenes and the corridor, the cliff and the car chase – actually they’re all a kind of story exploration and all ways to connect with readers.

  • Use the conventions you recognise in the stories you love to create a framework.
  • Explore the locations of your novel in your writing using sensory detail.
  • Think in terms of how you establish and maintain threat-levels.


What if there aren’t any stories I love?

Go back a step. Find some before you plan to write a novel.

Why are you putting the reader first?

  • Because it’s easy to forget them.
  • Because we’re probably writing what we’d love to read.
  • Because it’s through reading or watching stories that we fall in love with storytelling in the first place, not through outlining.

How does sensory detail (or any of the other techniques you mentioned) relate to planning a novel?

We’re not only planning a structure, we’re also planning how to connect with readers. Sensory detail, from the point of view of a character, creates a vivid experience for a reader – it helps to ‘transport’ them into the story.


Do you have other questions? Pop them in the comments and I’ll answer.

More soon. Until then, happy writing,

Lou xx

P.S. Want more? Here’s my book on novel writing.

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