Story Building 101: Chapter Clues

Today, we are going to go over how to flesh out your novel into a cohesive story. As the title suggests, we will be looking at each chapter for clues. Most writers know how they want to start and end their novel, but what about the middle? After all, you would not have much of a story if you only had a beginning and an end.

Here is where the concept of chapter clues come in. Yes, you do need to understand how your characters will act in order to drive the story foward, or at the very least, understand at least one aspect of your character’s personality and how that personality aspect would cause your character(s) to react. A timid character would react in a different way than an outgoing character. A character driven by anger would react a different way than a calm, collected character. This is a really simple way to think, however, many authors do forget this lesson at times.

So you wrote your first chapter. This is where the chapter clues will come in. What happened in your first chapter? If it was an Epilogue, this will not be as important. Go ahead and write the chapter that begins the story of your heroes. Once you have a chapter one, think about anything that might have happened in your story set-up and build onto that. The goal is to have each chapter build upon the previous chapters. Think carefully before you start writing the next chapter.

Do you already have an idea in mind? If not, what are the different directions your story could go in? What could be the result with what happened in the previous chapter? How would your characters react? Once you get the answers and get to the third chapter, do the same thing as before, but think about the events and reactions from the first two chapters. With each chapter you write, the previous chapters need to have a result of whatever events had taken place.

Of course, you can do something different to this suggestion, it is your story after all. This is simply the widely used formula between authors. I do hope this will make you say, “That makes sense,” and help you get into the habit of asking yourselves the questions that help you go foward with your stories.