Oct 3, 2013


Notes on writing based on J.S. Bell 'Write Great Fiction: Plot and Structure' - by Lisa Agosti

How can we add complexity to our plot, so as to make it more captivating for our readers? How can we link and develop all items of the story, in a way that is both easy to understand yet not already heard of?

  • Developing our theme will add depth to our story: 
    • what is the lesson, the value, the meta-message we want to share?
    • weave various subplots, like a tapestry, creating an amazing overall effect
    • introduce symbols and motifs in a natural way. Readers will love a layered story that unfolds at plural levels of depth
  • Write a longer novel:
    • To keep your readers hooked, consider each section of the long novel as an independent novelette with its beginning and its end. For example, Forrest Gump has different adventures that see him turning from ping pong champion to war hero. Still, consistent throughout is his love for Jenny
  • Practice writing parallel plots (two or more plot lines that run along the same forward path):
    • each plot has to work on its own
    • simultaneously, each plot has to interconnect and reach the climax at the same time
  • Playing with structure and style is a good way to reach complex plots:
    • try a nonlinear fashion, jumping back and forward in time. Facts are offered as jigsaw pieces that the reader collects one at the time until eventually the whole story reveals itself
  • Build a Lead character that changes and develops through the story:
    • Ensure a story line that makes your character grow (through suffering)
    • a powerful technique in complex plots  makes the character somehow come face to face with his 'earlier self' to highlight the mutation in progress. Dickens became a master of this technique when he created Mr Scrooge. Time to try your own Christmas Carol.
Have a good novel!