Write Your Novel Step by Step (Home Page)

Write Your Novel
Step by Step

By Melanie Anne Phillips
Creator of StoryWeaver

Click for Table of Contents

Read it free on our web site!

 Also available in Paperback
and for your Kindle

Discuss Your Story with the author of
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!

Click for details…

Free Resources

Home Mail: customer-service@storymind.com

Writing Tools

Write Your Novel
or Screenplay
Step by Step!


Contact Us - About Us - Lowest Price Guarantee - Shipping - Return Policy

Copyright Melanie Anne Phillips - Owner, Storymind.com, Creator Storyweaver, Co-creator Dramatica

StoryWeaver Idea Spinner

Banish Writer’s

Block Forever!


Articles on Writing Free Online Writing Classes in Streaming Video

Predicts Your Story’s Perfect Structure!



Index Cards


Throughline Follow Us

Get our newest writing
tips and product
announcements in
our Newsletter, on
Facebook, Twitter,      or our Blog!

Movie Magic Screenwriter - Formats while you write! Movie Magic Screenwriter


Personal help from
the Co-Creator of

Click for Details

Story Consultation Writing Tips

Newest Tips

Library of Tips

Video & Audio

Introduction to
Story Structure

12 Hour Story Structure Course

Secrets of
Story Structure

Free Books

Write Your Novel
Step by Step

50 Sure-Fire
Storytelling Tricks!

A Few Words
About Theme


Story Structure
Graphic Novel

400 Page Book
on Structure

Narrative Science
Warning - Deep Theory!

Most Popular

Your Story Will Fail
(if you don’t do this)

10 Essential Tips
for Beginners

Be A Story Weaver  NOT a Story Mechanic!

Writing from the Passionate Self

The Creativity

A Novelist’s
Bag of Tricks!

Character Arc 101

How to Beat
Writer’s Block

How To Create
Great Characters

Character Development

Never Be Stuck
for a Plot Again!

Creating Characters
from Scratch

Follow Us

Follow Us at Storymind.com

~ Step 7 ~

Filling the Holes

In Step 6, you found holes and inconsistencies in your story as it stands so far by looking at it as an audience would, rather than as an author, and asking questions about what was missing or didn’t make sense.

In this step you’ll fill those holes and fix the inconsistencies by answering these questions to make your story more complete and to tune it up so it rings true.

Recalling the “Creativity Two-Step” method you employed in Step 4, you can see that the questions you’ve just asked about your synopsis are the first part of that technique.  Just as before, your task in this step is to come up with as many potential answers for each question as you can (within reason).

And speaking of reason, just a reminder that the “two-step” method works because it alternates between logic and passion; between the analytical mind and the creative mind.

Asking questions about your synopsis is an analytical endeavor: you are trying to make sense of the story and noting everything that doesn’t.

Coming up with a grab bag of answers for each is a creative endeavor: you are turning your Muse loose to invent new concepts with no restrictions at all.

It is important to keep in mind that any answer is a good one, even if it is patently ridiculous.  No matter: the most nonsensical idea, though it may never be used itself, can spur the inspiration of just the idea you need, which never would have occurred to you if you hobble your Muse in advance and force it to work within constraints of any kind.

The Muse hates limits, and cannot be directed any more than one can herd cats.  Asking the questions is a focused and critical process, but answering them should always be completely free-form in order to achieve the best results.

So, refer to the questions about your story synopsis you just asked in the last step and see how many interesting answers you can bring forth.  The more unusual the answer, the more likely your story will avoid following a cliché path and will stand out as original and intriguing.


Answers to Questions About Snow Sharks

From the synopsis:

A transport plane carrying them [the snow sharks] crashes in a storm high in the Rocky Mountains, just above a high-priced ski resort for the rich.


1. What kind of plane?

a. Constellation

b. B-2 Bomber

c. Modified 747

d. B-17

e. Blimp

f. Dirigible

g. Bi-Plane

h. Glider

i. Rebuilt flying saucer from Area 51

2. How many sharks was it carrying?

a. 1

b. 17

c. 300

d. A mating pair

3. Do they all survive?

a. Only one survives

b. 6 survive

c. They all survive

d. Just the mating pair

e. An even dozen

4. Where was the transport taking the sharks?

a. Hawaii (for disposal)

b. An arctic research station

c. A secret base in Colorado

d. Russia (they were being stolen)

e. To NASA for a mapping expedition on one of Jupiter’s moons.

You may have noticed that a few of the answers actually provide more information than was asked for in the questions, for example:

Question 4 - Where was the transport taking the sharks?


Answer d. - Russia (they were being stolen)

When I answered “Russia” arbitrarily, I thought of the Russian Mob, and it occurred to me that organized crime might be trying to hijack and resell these biologic weapons.

If additional material comes to mind when answering a question, don’t be afraid to include it just because it goes beyond the expected answer.  It’s all part of the creative process, and it never pays to squelch a good idea.

The more questions you answer, the fewer holes and inconsistencies in your story, and the more answers you come up with, the less cliché your story is likely to be.

Conversely, don’t feel pressured to answer everything and never – absolutely NEVER – do more work that you find interesting and pleasurable.  The best way to kill a story is to kill your interest in writing it.

Though producing more answers enriches your novel, it may also deplete your drive to get your novel completed if the process becomes work and ceases to be fun.

So, let your Muse loose, without restrictions or quotas, and whatever shakes out will both add to your story and add to your motivation to tell it.

Now - spice up your story by peppering it with new material!  Then, in Step 8, we’ll put it all together and integrate your original concepts and best new ideas into a revised synopsis.