Writing a Book

Welcome to this month’s ‘Writerly Witterings’ Blog Post.  I have decided to have a monthly theme around an aspect of writing and will usually aim to post onto my blog on the first Friday of each month.

This will be followed up on the second Saturday of each month with a Facebook Live at 5pm – this month it will be on Saturday 16th March.  Click here to connect with me on Facebook.

I have had some lovely feedback in relation to the blog posts I have put out so far this year, and  for the Facebook ‘Lives.'  Thank you!writing a book

Workshops, courses and writing retreats are not always within everybody’s budget or time availability, so it is a pleasure to be able to offer writing advice free of charge.  I am now also able to offer a free 15 minute telephone chat to discuss your writing aspirations or an element of your work in progress.

Perhaps you’re stuck with how to progress a plotline or unsure of how to present character thoughts.  Maybe you’ve got a ‘publishing’ question.  Whatever it is, I’m always happy to help a fellow writer, so follow this link to book a 15 minute time slot with me, they’re available most days between 4.30 and 6.00 pm.

Building Scenes into Chapters

This week’s ‘Writerly Witterings’ blog post is on the theme of ‘novel building,’ as it is my belief that writing a novel can be likened to a construction project.

The novel is an apartment block, the chapters are the floors; each holding up the one on top of it and the scenes are the rooms that make up each apartment.

The novel is the ‘wwriting a bookhole’, comprising of its over arching ‘story arc,’ consisting of a beginning, middle and end. It is the sum of its parts, its chapters, which build progressively, each with their own story arcs but to a lesser dramatic effect.

Then each chapter consists of five of six scenes, each scene also having its own clear beginning, middle and end and earning its place within the story, as there is something ‘happening’ in each scene.

Imagine if you were to slide a scene or a chapter out from underneath your novel.  Each one should be so important that your novel would be wobbly without it.

Planning Scenes and Chapters

And this is where planning comes in.  (See my blog post from 21 January).  Particularly for first-time novelists, it can be beneficial to set off writing with a writing a bookclear idea of where that main novel story arch is going.

I always jot down (using bullet points) what vital scenes will be in each chapter, then also I bullet point the sequence of each scene before I start to write it.

Of course, there’ll be the ebbs and flows in terms of dramatic action, pace and tension but if you set off with this kind of formulaic method in mind, you won’t go far wrong. (I promise!)

I have a chapter-building planning aid for anyone who would like a copy.  Drop me a line here to receive it.


Don’t forget to post any questions or further suggestions on your own approach to ‘novel building’ into the comments below.  Or join in with the Facebook Live on Saturday 16th – I would love to see you.

In the meantime, keep writing and I’ll be back with a “Writerly Witterings’ next month, which will be on the theme of ‘Confidence Building for Writers.’

© Maria Stephenson – 8 March 2019

PS There’s still a couple of spaces on the April Life Writing Retreat in Harrogate – uninterrupted writing time, tutored writing workshops and life coaching for writers.  Follow this link if you’d like more information.


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