ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Write a Successful Story

Updated on July 2, 2014

Romance and Mystery from Kindle

Source

Plotting and scheming that novel

So, you want to write a mystery or maybe a fantasy, or are you hankering after creating a block-buster adult romance? No matter what your chosen genre, you're attempting to write a novel.

Writing is your ambition yet you don't seem to be moving forward - a common problem if the number of letters I get is anything to go by.

First off, make sure you understand just what the plot is about. Some people seem to think the plot will magically evolve as they write. This is nonsense. Writing is a logical process. Hard work is required. 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration....

As far as a novel is concerned, a plot can perhaps be described as the structure of scenes dealing with the problems that separate a novel from daily life.

Most novels are larger than life. More things happen, deeper problems are solved. Novels fulfil a reader's flight of fancy because it is how they think they would like their lives to be.

This is where a Newbie author can slip-up. They sometimes try to make their novel too ‘true to life'. Readers don't want stories that are life as THEY live it. When readers pick up a book, they're seeking diversion from routine. Successful novels reflect their fantasies.

My blogs 'n stuff

About the author

  • Short stories by AJ Barnett have been published since 1994 in magazines, summer specials and international competitions, been broadcast on radio and recorded for audio books.

Structure of a novel - The Scene.

The numerous minor causes and effects that occur during the plot, group together to form scenes. The scene is another elementary building block of fiction. The scene is made up of three parts.

  • Goal.
  • Conflict.
  • Failure of the character to reach the goal.


There must be a goal(s) or there is no story. The central character(s) must strive towards some almost impossible ideal or purpose. In the path of this striving should be obstacles, and these create conflict. All stories should have conflict. Without conflict there is nothing to tell.

There should be one, and only one, primary goal and this should run through the whole of the novel. The primary goal is the purpose behind the tale. The primary goal should be made plain at the outset of the story. There can be numerous minor goals and conflicts that trickle in and out as the story unfolds. The primary goal should not be resolved until the story reaches the end, but minor goals can, and should, be disentangled as the story progresses.


-------------------------------------------------------------

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      6 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      This is definitely useful. Point the way, aj. Like it, I do indeed! Make it look almost hopeless and string the readers along, that's the way to hook them... Just don't let on you're doing it. Camouflage, that's the thing - what's the Anglo-Saxon for camouflage? Hiding in plain sight! And what's another way of doing that? Fictionalising the facts... Thereby hangs a tale. What's that pleasant aroma hanging on the air? I smell a profit!

    • ajbarnett profile imageAUTHOR

      ajbarnett 

      8 years ago from Costa Blanca, Spain

      Thanks Camio, kind of you to stop by and comment

    • camlo profile image

      Camlo De Ville 

      8 years ago from Cologne, Germany

      Yes, our focus should never deviate from the points you make here.

      The plotting etc. is probably more challenging than the actual writing -- and at least as important.

      Good Hub!

      All the best, Camlo

    • profile image

      Karen H. 

      9 years ago

      Very good points. I especially like how you articulate #3 and urge writers to "write with that emotion" they wish to arouse in the reader. Nice.

    • ajbarnett profile imageAUTHOR

      ajbarnett 

      9 years ago from Costa Blanca, Spain

      Glad you liked it, Teinesith. Thanks for stopping by.

    • teinesith profile image

      teinesith 

      9 years ago

      Good advice, sir.

    • profile image

      Béla Mongyi 

      9 years ago

      That's great! And it's well enough I guess.

      As for me, I'm not likely to become a library giant

      for I'm no writer. :)

    • ajbarnett profile imageAUTHOR

      ajbarnett 

      9 years ago from Costa Blanca, Spain

      Hi, Béla. The problem is, a lot of newbies just plough into a story with a flimsy idea. For some reason they imagine the story is going to write itself - and of course it doesn't - a story needs substance.

      Deeper meaning? If you're aiming to be a literary giant then certainly - and good luck with it....

      However most writers simply want to tell a tale. I fall into the latter category. I like to spin a yarn that holds reader's interest. I've been lucky enough to have comments sent to me saying that readers (both men and women) have started WITHOUT REPROACH and could do no work for a couple of days because they didn't want to put it down. I've had readers write to magazines saying my short stories made them cry - I love that - I don't aim for anything higher.

    • profile image

      Béla Mongyi 

      9 years ago

      Finding a decent plot? I mean why would you want to write a novel if you have no clue what the heck to write about?

      I like your elements for a good plot. Also, do you think a plot should carry a deeper meaning?

    • ajbarnett profile imageAUTHOR

      ajbarnett 

      9 years ago from Costa Blanca, Spain

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment, Fiction Writer. Glad it's of use.

    • profile image

      Fiction Writer 

      9 years ago

      Hey, these are some great tips for story development, I have had to rehash quite a few of my short stories when I don't constantly question how my characters would behave to different stimuli!

    • ajbarnett profile imageAUTHOR

      ajbarnett 

      9 years ago from Costa Blanca, Spain

      Hi, tdarby, you're very kind. Thank you.

    • tdarby profile image

      tdarby 

      9 years ago

      Thanks--another fantastic hub.

    • ajbarnett profile imageAUTHOR

      ajbarnett 

      9 years ago from Costa Blanca, Spain

      Thanks for that Denny. I feel honoured that you feel my work good enough to share.

    • Denny Lyon profile image

      Denny Lyon 

      9 years ago from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

      Hi, Anthony, yet another clear concise hub for aspiring young writers to help wrap their heads around writing that first novel that is about to burst out of them!  Perhaps you could do a series of these for folks?  A thought since the internet is full of young aspiring poets and writers.  They could benefit from your experience in the craft.  Blogging this on over to The Social Poets for the writing crowd that visits, thank you!

      Should publish in the next day or two.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)