Mark C. King Author Blog

Mark C. King Author Blog

Part 3: Chapter Notes

Writing Your Own NovelPosted by Mark C. King 2016-03-30 09:06AM
Having an idea, organizing your notes, and creating an outline has put you in a great position to succeed! But I recommend one more step before you start writing your novel. Chapter notes.

What is a chapter note? As you probably figured, it is notes about your chapters. More specifically, it is a more granular view of your story. You went from an idea, then went more detailed with an outline, and then went even more detailed with your chapters. A natural progression of refinement.

Included in this would be the purpose of your chapters. Each chapter should have a reason for existing. Introduction of a character, raising a question, overcoming an obstacle, etc. This simple idea can really help your story to be coherent.

All that said, I find that listing all the chapters and meanings to be near impossible as I start the novel. But, I usually have 5 - 10 chapters outlined ahead of where I am - the more the better. Seeing the story in this way helps to identify gaps and/or strange transitions. Does chapter 4 happen 2 weeks before chapter 5? - Is that 2 weeks accounted for somehow to let the reader know of the passing of time?

No matter how hard I try, I will add more chapters. My current story needed a change of pace chapter so I stuck one in there (it has a purpose beyond change of pace, but seeing how my chapter notes were playing out helped me decide where to include this piece).

Of note, it is a GREAT feeling when you have all of your chapters outlined. When you have that, you know you have a complete story! Not that you won't tweak or add, but having a full story means you will not get lost on the way - which could lead to you giving up.

Example of Chapter Notes (Using 'The Goonies'):
Chapter 1 Outline: Man breaks out of jail with help from his mom and brother.
Chapter 1 Purpose: Introduction of the bad guys of the story.

Chapter 2 Outline: Brothers Mikey and Brandon commiserate over their pending move. Friend Mouth shows up as well.
Chapter 2 Purpose: Introduction of main characters. Introduction of problem they face.

Chapter 3 Outline: Chunk shows up and talks about big car chase. Data arrives by zip-lining from neighbors house.
Chapter 3 Purpose: More main characters introduced. Chunk is an exaggerator/liar and Data is an experimenter with gadgets - wishes he was James Bond.

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