oracne - Victoria Janssen (oracne) wrote,
oracne - Victoria Janssen

Tripartite Novel Structure

kateelliott asked me to expand on what I meant by saying I'd made a tripartite outline.

It's pretty simple, really, suited to my minimal burgeoning skill in plotting. I am not good at making detailed outlines and then sticking to them; I tried that, and it was awful. So when I was working on the previous novel, I figured things out as I went along, and periodically would make very rough outlines of the next few chapters. In my head, I thought of the book as having a beginning, a middle, and an end. So when I'm trying to give shape to my zero draft (zero because it will not necessarily be consistent throughout in characterization or chronology), I think of it in three parts.

First part, the beginning, is introduction of the characters and their problems. In my notebook, I listed these specifically, at least the ones I knew about already--I will figure out others, and how to complicate the original ones, as I go along, if this works the same way it did with the previous novel. The section ends with some pivotal event/s.

The Dreaded Middle is dealing with the pivotal event/s, and the repercussions thereof, and also setting up the end, except I will probably do end-foreshadowing after the end is actually written. Since now I know how it ends, but not exactly how the denouement will fall out.

The End is finding solutions to all the problems, or at least enough of them that the reader is satisfied, and more importantly, I'm satisfied. I don't like things to be tied up too snugly and perfectly, and I like the ending to be at least a little off from what the reader expects--not the events, but how they happen, perhaps. (Gee, I sound like I've written a lot more novels than I actually have done!) So if the middle is done right, the end ought to mostly be in place already, before I start to write it.

And as a side comment, I totally would lose my mind if I tried to write something as complex as one of kateelliott's novels.
Tags: writing, writing craft

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