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Scenes and Structure

Beginning writers often tend to think of a book as a series of chapters. It’s actually more useful to regard it as a series of linked scenes. Why? Because it makes it a lot easier to control the pace of your story. ‘Pace’ may be described as the...

Writing a Prologue

What is a prologue? When should you use one? Should you forget about a prologue and simply start at Chapter 1? All too often we pick up a published book and read the prologue, then wonder why it was there at all. It doesn’t seem to do anything that Chapter One...

The Many Paths to Plotting

For several years before I left teaching to write full time (over a decade ago now), I was a specialist reading teacher. I dealt mainly with two categories of kids: Those who were struggling to read at all (I had to turn them into readers) and Those who could read,...

How to Use Sub Plots

If your book is suffering from the dreaded ‘sagging middle’ syndrome, it’s likely that you either don’t have a subplot or you haven’t paid enough attention to your subplots. (In shorter books, such as those for juvenile readers, you can...