Is Structure the Hidden Foundation of All Successful Stories?
I learned a lot just from the Table of Contents–and that was how I knew I was going to be fascinated by the rest of K.M. Weiland’s latest release, Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story.
“Story structure is deeply instinctual. Most readers don’t know a thing about structure; but they do know when a story doesn’t work because something in its structure is off. Same goes for authors. Many successful authors write without any knowledge of structure, and their stories still work because they’re instinctively following the tenets of structure without even being aware of it.” — Chapter 13
I was right. It only took me a few days to read this book, which is saying something when it comes to me and nonfiction. K.M. Weiland offers a thorough breakdown of what story structure means–a daunting task. Plus, she does it without being dry, boring, or overwhelming. I thought the terms and information would send my brain into overload, but Weiland remained witty and clear throughout.
Full of examples of what she means, illustrations of her points, and applicable advice for writers who want to grasp what it means to structure their novel, this book is an excellent resource for plotters and pantsers, those who are familiar with the three-act structure and those who are not (yet).
During the first half of the book, I wished that the examples Weiland chose (which include Pride and Prejudice and It’s A Wonderful Life) were slightly younger. I wanted to see her dissect The Hunger Games or one of her own novels, but over the course of the book, I began to appreciate what she was doing–using examples that had half a chance of being familiar to a wide audience.
(And I suppose using The Hunger Games would introduce far too many spoilers.)
For writers who know exactly what In Medias Res means and for those who have never heard of the Hook or the Inciting Event, K.M. Weiland offers a book that will decode story structure in such a way as to keep the writer/reader engaged and reaching for paper to write down ideas. Examples enlighten. Application abounds. I highly recommend Structuring Your Novel.
About the Author
K.M. Weiland is the author of the historical western A Man Called Outlaw and the medieval epic Behold the Dawn. She enjoys mentoring other authors through her blog Wordplay: Helping Writers Become Authors, editing services, and her instructional CD Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration. She lives in western Nebraska.
Read my review of Outlining Your Novel
Disclosure: The author sent me this book to review. This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.