Editing Your Novel’s Structure By Bethany A. Tucker
Today I have a review for the above book. I’m both an author and a script editor myself, so I am always interested in reading non fiction about the process. No writer is too experienced to learn something new, plus it can be incredibly useful to offer alternative viewpoints to my own clients. Make sure you check out the info and links at the bottom of this post if it sounds of interest to you.
First up, this is a short book, just 135 pages, so it’s a short read that offers good value. Instruction is clear and precise, plus it is delivered in a conversational style. I particularly liked the fact she places emphasis on what works for the individual, plus I thought the checklists were great for those writers who are struggling.
There’s some excellent commentary on characterisation here, plus I like how Bethany makes reference to diversity, intentional inclusion and cultural appropriation. These are particular focuses of my own writer’s site Bang2write as I really believe writers should consider the potential impact of their words and imagery.
I also love how Bethany talks about movies as well as books. As a script editor for movies as well as a novelist, I see convergence between them too. Whilst obviously there are different ways of presenting screenplays and novels, I’m a great believer there’s ‘no’ difference between the mediums in real terms because it’s all storytelling. This means all writers face the same challenges in getting their stories on the page.
I note Bethany is a fantasy author, which may account for why she seems to talk about stories like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings so much. (I don’t think she goes overboard on this to be fair, I just don’t like that genre much so it seemed to ‘stick out’ to me).
Bethany also seems to conflate structure with what I call ‘thematics’, paying particular attention to storyworld. I prefer to keep structure to plotting elements with thematics as a separate piece of the jigsaw, but this is a personal preference (probably because I am a screenwriter at heart). It was fascinating to read Bethany’s approach because it was different to mine and it never hurts to consider alternatives.
To sum up, I feel this book would especially useful for newbies, or writers stuck in what I call ‘The Story Swamp’ where everything feels like it is going wrong in a draft. Those authors suffering from writer’s block would also benefit in my opinion. Recommended!
Before it’s time to check for commas and iron out passive voice, fiction writers need to know that their story is strong. Are your beta readers not finishing? Do they have multiple, conflicting complaints? When you ask them questions about how they experience your story, do they give lukewarm responses? Or have you not even asked anyone to read your story, wondering if it’s ready?
If any of the above is true, you may need to refine the structure of your story. What is structure you ask? Structure is what holds a story together. Does the character arc entrance the reader? Is the world building comprehensive and believable? These questions and more have to be answered by all of us as we turn our drafts into books.
In this concise handbook, complete with checklists for each section, let a veteran writer walk you through the process of self-assessing your novel, from characters to pacing with lots of compassion and a dash of humor. In easy to follow directions and using adaptable strategies, she shows you how to check yourself for plot holes, settle timeline confusion, and snap character arcs into place.
Use this handbook for quick help and quick self-editing checklists on:
– Characters and Character Arcs.
– Backstory .
– Point of View.
– A detailed explanation of nearly free self-editing tools and how to apply them to your book to find your own structural problems.
– Beginnings and Ends.
– Editing for sensitive and specialized subject matter.
– Helpful tips on choosing beta readers, when to seek an editor, and a sample questionnaire to give to your first readers.
Grab your copy of Edit Your Novel’s Structure today! Now is the time to finish that draft and get your story out into the world.
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AUTHOR BIO: Bethany Tucker is an author and editor located near Seattle, U.S.A. Story has always been a part of her life. With over twenty years of writing and teaching experience, she’s more than ready to take your hand and pull back the curtain on writing craft and mindset. Last year she edited over a million words for aspiring authors. Her YA fantasy series Adelaide is published wide under the pen name Mustang Rabbit and her dark epic fantasy is releasing in 2021 under Ciara Darren. You can find more about her services for authors at TheArtandScienceofWords.com.