1. Dangerboy450
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    Dangerboy450 New Member

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    Plot outline for Novella

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Dangerboy450, Jul 31, 2012.

    This is my first time writing narrative fiction in the form of a short story/ novella and I would like some advice on how to outline the plot with regards to chapter breaks.

    I have written screenplays before and am familiar with that kind of structure but have never written long-form friction. Are the two types compatible? Does each chapter contain within itself its own 3 acts or do the chapter breaks coincide with scene changes, or still are chapters arbitrary to the larger plot points and act breaks that comprise the framework of the larger story?

    Any suggestions are a appreciated. If an example of the work in question is required let me know. Thanks.

    Sincerely
    Jonathan
     
  2. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    There really isn't a set method for where you feel that chapters should break off. Every writer will do it differently. What I typically do is determine what event I want to take place in each chapter and then I write through that event until I feel the end of the chapter. Often times, for me, it's when I reach a point where some sort of dialogue or action leaves a little bit of suspense for the reader. But there's really no method that should or needs to be followed as far as chapter breaks. It's whenever you think the chapter should end.
     
  3. Crystal Parney
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    Crystal Parney Member

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    I don't believe there's an exact method either. Its really up to the writer. I end my chapters when it feels right to me, and if possible I try to leave the end of a chapter with a cliff hanger.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Be advised that there is almost no market for novellas, outside of the YA market.
     
  5. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    The only market for a novella right now is in e-books. Several established authors in the science fiction genre do that to cover action either between books or behind the scenes with another character. (Mike Shepherd's Kris Longknife series comes to mind). In fact, I've got one planned after my sequel novel, just to cover ground between Phoenix Rising and the Unnamed Novel I'm working on.
     
  6. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    Yeah, I usually just end my chapters when it feels right, or when i'm shifting perspective between characters. You just gotta do it enough till you get a feel for what a good chapter for you is.
     
  7. lunapuka
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    lunapuka Banned

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    With the demand for young people read novels today, I expect the writer to compose a novel so many novels and meaningful ..!
    Gazo
     
  8. growingpains
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    growingpains Member

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    Although there's not a very big market for novellas right now, it doesn't mean that there won't be a market for it later on down the line - so don't get discouraged. Also, what you might think is a novella right now might turn into a novel later.

    As for chapters, there is no method, as has been said. If you want to outline with chapters in mind, just pay attention to clumps of scenes that have something in common and make those your chapters. Since it's just an outline, if your chapters don't seem right to you, you can always edit them later in the second draft. Really, though, the focus should be writing your story as a whole, not by sections.
     
  9. Dangerboy450
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    Dangerboy450 New Member

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    Any chance I could get a "yes" or a "no" to any of the questions I posed in my original post? Also, I don't really appreciate my posts getting hi-jacked by comments that don't apply to the subject in question, such as
    .
    While I respect the advice of others, I don't see why this was necessary to add. Not all of us here are looking to be published authors; but we are here to be better writers, and what, why, and how we chose to write is of our own volition regardless of marketability.
     
  10. Quinn T. Senchel
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    Quinn T. Senchel Member

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    Different authors will do chapters differently. Suzanne Collins wrote scripts before writing the Hunger Games. I never read her books, but from what I hear she structured her chapters similar to that of a script with Acts, Scenes, and Parts.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    people were being helpful when advising you of marketing limits, db... to be rude to them for being nice to you is not the way to endear yourself to the membership...

    I have written screenplays before and am familiar with that kind of structure but have never written long-form friction. Are the two types compatible?
    ...no...

    Does each chapter contain within itself its own 3 acts
    ...not necessarily...

    or do the chapter breaks coincide with scene changes,
    ...not always...

    or still are chapters arbitrary to the larger plot points and act breaks that comprise the framework of the larger story?
    ...it's up to each writer when and why to start a new chapter... all you need to do is take a look at any dozen novels by successful authors and you'll see for yourself some of the reasons for doing so...
     
  12. sonja.arbogast
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    sonja.arbogast New Member

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    Yeah, I've gotta agree with mammamaia on this one. Read a lot of different authors to get a feel for what they're doing. If you see one that you like, steal their format. Authors are thieves, to an extent. It's what we do. You'll most likely wind up changing their format to fit your needs anyway.

    Most books have the three act approach to them. I use it in my stuff usually. Chapters, not so much, unless the book is written as a series of short stories. This doesn't happen often, but it does happen. Cycle of the Werewolf was written like that, I think. The Graveyard Book was, too.

    Really, reading lots of stuff's the best way to figure it out, though.
     

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