Quick Lesson On Novel Writing + Giveaway

A lot of people begin writing by the seat of their pants. They just sit down and start keying in the words as they see the story unfolding.

There's not anything wrong with this if you are the rare genius who instinctively has a command of the basic elements of a novel.

If you already know where your story is going and how to get through the middle and to the end, then you'll probably end up with a focused story.

If you don't know these things, you'll stall out after about 50 pages or less.

The reason this happens is that beginning writers don't realize a novel must be structured and contain the basic elements of a novel if it is to be successful. Every story ever told must have these elements.

Giveaway Alert

To the right, you'll see the Giveaway Prize from WriteWay, my CafePress Shop. This khaki ball cap has a sepia book stack graphic and says: Ask me about my book. 

Scroll to the bottom to see details for the Ask Me About My Book Cap that is the Giveaway Prize.

Basic Elements of a Novel

From the simplest to the most complex, from the shortest to the longest, a novel is:

(1) a structured story

Yes, at the very minimum you must know the beginning, the middle, and the end and the turning points in the story that move it along.

(2) about an appealing or fascinating character

The best scenario is to make the character someone the reader roots for from the very beginning.

Who wants to read about a character who's a totally jerk wad? Unless the story is about the jerk wad growing as a person and becoming someone the reader does like and does root for.

(3) struggling against great odds

Yes, those great odds comprise the conflict with which so many writers struggle. Why must there be conflict in a story? Because it's the fuel that propels the story from scene to scene.

In real life, people are motivated by two things: the desire to feel pleasure and the desire to avoid pain.

Of those two desires, the desire to avoid pain is stronger. Use that information to dish out the pain, or conflict, to your characters and then let them do everything in their power to deal with the conflict in order to avoid the pain offered by their specific challenges.

Sometimes, you'll have your characters chase after pleasure as a way to avoid pain.

(4) to achieve a worthy goal

Yes, each story has a goal which most believably belongs to the main character. Set that goal early on in your story so your reader can latch onto it and know what the stakes are.

You want the reader wondering if the hero will find the kidnapped woman before the bad guy kills her.

You want the reader wondering if the heroine can repay the bank loan before the bank forecloses on the family home.

My latest book is Second Chance Bride. He's the only man she wants—and the one man she can never have. If you read my new release, look for the story goal.

Takeaway Truth

Remember, every story ever told must have these elements: structure, character, conflict, and story goal.

Gifts & Promotions for Authors

If you're a beginner, have you tried writing a book? How did it turn out? If you're already a published author, how do you write a book?

(1) Leave your answer or answers with your email addy written out in Comments, and you'll be entered in a Giveaway to win the cap shown here.

The CAP prize is for a Lower 48 winner only. If you live outside the lower 48, your prize will be an ebook copy of one of my books.

(2) Giveaway closes July 4, 2018.

(3) Winner chosen by random draw.

(4) No purchase necessary.

(5) Remember, leave your answers in comments with your email addy written out.


  1. Initially, this post contained a picture of a different cap. When I opened the packaging to look at the cap, I saw a stain so I'm changing the Giveaway Prize to this "Ask Me About My Book" cap.

  2. I have 2 ideas for a story, and so far, only have 2 sentences finished. Need to figure out a way to keep family/distractions at bay. (I live in Alaska, so no need to enter me in the contest, just wanted to respond and say thanks for your blog)