Write Your Novel Step by Step (Home Page)

Write Your Novel
Step by Step


By Melanie Anne Phillips
Creator of StoryWeaver

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Write Your Novel Step By Step!

 Stuck on a plot point, an unmotivated character, or just awash in a sea of conflicting ideas?  Try consulting with the author of Write Your Novel Step by Step (and Co-creator of Dramatica) Melanie Anne Phillips - by email, phone or Skype!

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~ Step 36 ~



Story Holes


Now that you have created a complete synopsis with elements of plot, characters, theme, and genre, it is time to stand back, look at the big picture, and see what holes may have worked their way into the fabric of your story.


Although you may want to take a stab at this now, it is often better to put your story aside for a day or two to gain some perspective.  That way you avoid a typical author's problem of assuming you have included material that is really in between the lines or only in your own creative mind, not on paper!


When you are ready, put yourself in the reader position.  Re-read your synopsis and then, using the Creativity Two-Step method, list below all of the questions that come to mind, based solely on what you have actually written.


When you can find no more holes, proceed to the next question.



~ Step 37 ~



Filling the Holes


Referring to the list of questions about your story you listed in the last step, come up with one or more potential answer for each if you can.


If you can't think of an answer to a given question, you've got a hole the audience will see too.


There are several things you can do about this:


1. Keep working to fill the hole.


2. Rather than add material to fill the hole, remove the material around the hole.  (In this way, the question will never come up!)


3.  Leave the hole because it isn't that bad and you don't want to remove the material around it.


Any and all of these approaches can work.  Keep in mind that stories are about passion, not about structural holes.  The only time holes are visible is when the storytelling isn't strong enough to gloss over them.  So, if you can't figure out how to fill a hole and are confident of your ability to cover it up, no problem.


For this step then, follow the Creativity Two-Step approach and find as many answers as you can to the questions you asked in the last step.



~ Step 38 ~



Cramming It All In


In this step is a big job that require little explanation:


Re-write your existing synopsis in the space below to plug as many holes as possible by working in the answers you devised in the last step.



~ Step 39 ~



Polish Draft


In the last step, you have created a revised synopsis of your overall story including depth, richness and detail.  Quite a bit more than you had when you started!


But, since each piece was added on top of existing work, the synopsis may seem a little bit like a patchwork quilt.


The task at hand is to smooth the edges and blend the pieces together until it feels as if the whole story idea must have been thought of in its entirety, rather than section at a time.


Again, you may want to put your story away for a day or so until your preconceptions fade enough to see the rough spots.


When you are satisfied with how your synopsis reads, you may want to share it with friends you trust to be honest but not to stab you in your creative heart.


Don't change anything just because one person felt strongly about it.  But if you see a consistency among several people, it is worth reconsidering that point.


Armed with any comments you feel are valid, re-rewrite your synopsis until you are satisfied it reads easily and incorporates every improvement worth making.


At this point, congratulations are in order!  With diligence commitment and a heck of a lot of work, you have completed the Inspiration Stage and are ready to move on to Stage Two: Story Development!


To begin, advance to the next page....