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ESSAY: The Anatomy of Plotting a Novel

“Never a dull moment” should be the mantra of every modern fiction writer. Savvy critics preach it from literary pulpits. Eager readers crave it like coke-heads. Yet, in spite of all that, many writers don’t get it, even some acclaimed ones.

Let’s start at the beginning. Competition is brutal in the writing market. Writers know it; publishers know it; the reading public knows it, but TV producers know it a little more keenly. If they don’t hook their audience within 15 seconds of the camera rolling out a story line, the viewers abandon ship and surf the other hundred or so channels for their fix.

In the literary world, the publisher has first crack at gathering market share: they design a book cover that draws potential readers to that special place on the book stand and conjure a logline that’s sharp, crisp, and tasty.

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