Thursday, May 28, 2009

How to write a novel.

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Good day, All.

Today's post will touch on how writers insure their novel is written in such a fashion as to appeal to their readers regardless the audience. The answer, as is so often the case, is simple, yet the application is difficult.

When someone wishes to write a novel, there is an actual formula to telling the story. This formula, known as the Hero's Journey, has been around since the time of mythology and will last well past the day we all cease telling stories. In fact, this is the framework around which any novel can be built. I recommend all new writers follow it when they are new to novel writing. (And long after...)

The Hero's Journey is often defined by different "authorities" in different ways, but the one I have found useful has twelve steps to follow. They are...

1. Ordinary Life
2. Call to Adventure
3. Refusal of the Call
4. Meeting the Mentor
5. Crossing the Threshold
6. Enemies, Allies and Tests
7. Point of No Return
8. Supreme Ordeal
9. Reward
10. Journey Home
11. Resurrection
12. Return Home

Although we'll go into each one of these steps in more detail, they are basically self-explanatory. In general, if the hero in your story finds himself involved in these twelve situations, your story will be defined and should appeal to almost any reader.

To get started, think of a favorite movie. Now follow the storyline and see if the primary character finds himself in the situations listed above. I'll bet you will. Once you can identify the steps within The Hero's Journey in, say a movie, you'll begin to understand how to apply them to your novel writing.

Star Wars is always a good example for any aspiring writer. Think of the episode where Luke's parents are killed. Remember it? If you recall the beginning of the story, Luke is working the farm but asks permission to strike out on his own. Can you see that scene in your mind's eye? That scene is Ordinary Life, which is step one in The Hero's Journey. Now, here's a clue... If Spielberg can use the Hero's Journey, so can you and I.

In my next post, we'll discuss step one, Ordinary Life, in more detail.

Good writing.


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