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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Turning Each Chapter into a Mini Story

When you read a book, the hope of the author is to leave you satisfied, if it's a series they hope you will read on. If you are like me I think of the story as a whole and either say--that was a great book, or I could've lived without it.

But what about our books keep the readers...well reading?

It's the CHAPTERS! About two years ago I read a book called How to Write a Novel and it went into what a chapter should be.

In my free Novel Outline Cheat Sheet I go over the importance of chapters in this printable page. It helps you organize a chapter into a mini story. Your chapters all build to one main event (typically called the climax) but you have to remember each chapter must be engaging. Whether it offers back story, a battle, a mystery...anything it must keep the reader moving through the book.

I tend to start each chapter like I would a book: Opening, Conflict, Climax (conclusion)

Usually in the opening I will try to bridge from my previous chapter in the event the reader stepped away from the book for a while, they will remember what was happening. THIS IS NOT A TOTAL RECAP! Just a sentence or two that would remind a reader of what happened pages before.

The conflict in each chapter can be an inner turmoil, a fight, an obstacle the characters must get around to keep moving on their quest, a mysterious stranger. Anything your mind can create, large or small. Conflict creates pizzazz, substance...the juice of the book so naturally I believe each chapter should have a conflict within its words.

The climax is a larger conflict, or exciting event that will leave the reader wanting to move on to the next chapter to find out what is going to happen next.

For example, in the first book of my soon-to-be-released series The Forgotten Relics there is a chapter where my antagonist, Killian, crosses to another realm. The climax of the chapter is him preparing for the jump, learning about the insane potentially dangerous creatures, and finally jumping. The chapter ends by him landing (hard and uncomfortably) in a torquoise pool of water. I give a brief setting sentence to describe what he sees in the first seconds and end it by arriving at this new mysterious realm.

The hope is to keep the reader going to learn about this realm, to see what happens. Then naturally in the next chapter I do it again. Exciting things happen, we learn more about the antagonist, mysterious things happen etc...

Key points: View each chapter like a mini novel broken up into three key parts. Your book will be more engaging, and will keep the readers coming back for more.

Happy Writing

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