New writers often are told to read. If you read in the genre you hope to publish in, analyzing published work is a good way to decide if your stories are close to passing muster.
Writing Tip for Today: Here are some other ways you can analyze novels to understand their structure:
- Find the main conflict. A problem presented by the protagonist early in the story helps a reader know the general direction of the story. This may be expressed as unfulfilled desire, a desperate need or intense longing. Weather, animals, objects or other people are common obstacles. The character against the self should be balanced by a more external conflict. Find and name these conflicts.
- Identify the character conflicts. Especially in novels where a romance figures, identifying the conflict between the hero/heroine is vital. As we’ve discussed before, try to balance their inner and outer conflicts.
- Are there subplot conflicts? I call these types of story problems “mosquito bites.” They aren’t key to the whole plot but instead add color and layers of complexity.
- Look for the climax scene. Find the climax scene for both the main conflict and the character conflict. These should be very near the book’s end, so you will know not to resolve your book’s problems too quickly or easily.
- Climax scene analysis. Take your time with the climax scene, and analyze for the amount of action, dialogue and inner workings. Take note of how the protagonist grapples and either wins or loses the objective from the book’s beginning.