If you are participating in NaNoWriMo http://www.nanowrimo.org this November, here’s a simple structure to help you manage 1666 words per day: write your novel in the three-act play format.
Here’s how: 50,000 words turns into approximately 200 pages…if we divide this by four, we have four 50 page sections. You could write one section per week.
Imagine in Act 1, you hook the reader, get down the premise of the story, and begin building dramatic conflict. At the end of Act 1, you have a Big Scene where your character must deal with a crisis of some sort. The curtain closes.
Act 2 is 100 pages, the character is reeling from an unexpected event. At mid-point (another 50 pages of writing) you have another Big Scene. The character is forced to take action. This should be major, forcing the character to deal with life issues, personality issues, a life and death situation, in other words, serious conflict.
Another 50 pages brings us to the end of Act 2 and another Big Scene. The character has made a decision, hoping for resolution. Curtain closes.
Act 3, the last 50 pages, brings us up to the end of the book. The Big Scene at the end of the book should resolve the crisis, unless you’re writing a tragedy. Then the denouement, the final outcome of the main dramatic complication. Curtain closes. The end.
I like this structure, particularly since I write without an outline. In my daily writes, I write scenes which make up chapters. The scenes do not have to be in order…they can be ordered later when the rewriting begins. Each scene you write will trigger another scene. Oh, this happened, now this must happen. Or that happened, but what led up to it. Just remember you must continue to up the stakes for the character.
Novels takes time…but generating with NaNoWriMo, you get the raw material down in one short month, then take your time with revision. Are you ready?
Nancy Canyon, MFA www.nancycanyon.com
Honey Salon Art opening this Friday, 6-9, Art Walk. Right next to Rocket Donuts on Holly.
Cottonwoods, by Nancy Canyon