1. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

    May 21, 2009
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    Structure, arks, and points

    Discussion in 'Novels' started by OurJud, Aug 11, 2016.

    I think the one thing above all I avoid thinking about in terms of novel writing is structure. Even at its most basic of beginning, middle and end, I find myself wondering what exactly is meant. Does this mean that a 100,000 word novel should be split equally into three, each of 33,000 words? What purpose does a 'middle' serve?

    Then if we move onto terms like story arc and the seven-point structure, things get even more complicated. Like before, do I need to be dividing each of these seven elements into 15,000-word segments?

    I admit that I'm doing none of these things in my novel. I'm just slogging along having things happen to my characters, with absolutely no clue as to whether they're following any kind of 'structure'. I'm just under 20,000 words in and, not counting the catalyst, approximately five main events have taken place. Is this too many, not enough. I just don't know.

    When do I need to start worrying about structure? Do I need to worry about it? It is possible that my chronological style of writing will mean the structure will take of itself?
  2. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Supporter Reviewer Contributor

    Jul 17, 2008
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    You're overthinking this. As long as you keep things like conflict, resolution, etc. in mind when writing, the structure will naturally take care of itself.

    Also, just as a counter-example, a lot Chekhov's stories end just before the climax. Granted, these are stories and not novels, but the idea here is that you don't have to follow the traditional structure to be successfully. And you certainly don't need to divide your work up into three (or seven) equal parts.
    OurJud and Simpson17866 like this.
  3. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

    Aug 23, 2013
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    @OurJud The short answer is: No. The only recommendation - not rule - that I can think of off the top of my head (and I have no idea where I read this) is that the beginning should be about 15% of the narrative, the middle should be about 60%, and the ending should be about 25%.
    OurJud likes this.

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