Day 1 – Analyze the Story Structure

In my previous post I announced that I was going to follow Janice Hardy’s Revise Your Novel in 31 Days at-home workshop. (

Today’s assignment was to make notes, with no actual revisions, to discover places I may want or need to rewrite. I could use a simple structure, such as the 3-act play (Beginning, Middle and End) or a more detailed one such as Janice Hardy’s Editorial Map that looks at every scene individually (

I used Scrivener to write my first draft, so I reviewed my digital index cards for each scene. If you aren’t familiar with this highly-recommended writing program, you can go to YouTube and see a lot of videos explaining how it works. Following Janice’s suggestions, I asked myself pertinent questions, such as what is my protagonist’s goal in this scene, the conflict, the stakes?

It didn’t take me long to see an unspoken question in Chapter 3 that went unanswered, which led to my protagonist’s realization that her plan wouldn’t work and needed to change. I also noted a possible inconsistency in capitalization of a word used throughout the book.

Results: I am encouraged that I can do this. I survived this first foray into editing and consider it a success. What about you? Was your experience similar or did you have difficulty?

Take-away value:

It helps to have an outline before you begin editing. I didn’t have my last chapters outlined, so it took time for me to pull it all together.  If you are a pantser, someone who doesn’t like to outline but prefers to write as the muse strikes, keep the 3-Act Structure in mind. The recommended breakdown is 25% of your story devoted to the Beginning (introduction), 50% to the middle (action), and 25% to the end (resolution).

See you on the next page!


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