Deconstructing a Novel: Step 2

in #novel4 years ago (edited)

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I started with Chapter 1 and went through it paragraph by paragraph. This is where the writer sets the stage and there is a hook. There are 3,392 words in the chapter and it is presented from the main character's first person point of view.

Paragraph one:

Mention of 2 Characters:
• Wendell Jaffe
• Mac Voorhies
Mention of 2 situations:
• Family history
• An ex-job at California Fidelity Insurance
Also mentions murder and death
This is a lot of information in 134 words.

Paragraph 2 – 157 words

Introduces herself, Kinsey Millhone, and her job, where she lives, and where that place is located.
Describes her current office.
Characters mentioned:
• Lonnie Kingman
• John Ives
Describes her personality.

Paragraph 3

The office described.
Characters mentioned:
• Lonnie Kingman
• John Ives
New:
• Martin Cheltenham
• Ida Ruth
• Jill
• Alison
• Jim Thicket

Paragraph 4

Her specific office is described.

Paragraph 5

Her specific office is described and her living circumstances.
Character mentioned:
• Ida Ruth

Paragraph 6

The time, day, and month. Her work and her rate of pay.

Paragraph 7 – 11

Conversation on the intercom.
• Alison

Paragraph 12

Reminiscing about last job and the men she worked with.
• Mac Voorhies
• Gordon Titus

Paragraph 13

Self description

Paragraph 14

Description of Mac

Paragraph 15-21

Basic dialogue revealing their relationship and personalities.

Paragraph 22

More description of Mac and revealing her personality.

Paragraph 23-27

Dialogue establishing their relationship

Paragraph 28-29

Wendell Jaffe mentioned and the crime is hinted at.

Paragraph 30-35

• Wendell Jaffe
• Carl Eckert
Background of crime elaborated

Paragraph 36-38

• Michael and Jesse Jaffe
• Dana Jaffe
More background on the crime

Paragraph 39-46

• Bill Bargerman
Insurance issues described

Paragraph 47-53

• Dick Mills
Twist in the story

Paragraph 54-61

Kinsey is hired.

Characters

• Wendell Jaffe
• Mac Voorhies
• Lonnie Kingman
• John Ives
• Martin Cheltenham
• Ida Ruth
• Jill
• Alison
• Jim Thicket
• Gordon Titus
• Michael and Jesse Jaffe
• Dana Jaffe
• Bill Bargerman
• Dick Mills

There are 15 characters plus Kinsey. Some of these are minor characters necessary for the plot movement. The only ones who are revealed in the chapter are Kinsey and Mac.

The hook is at the very end of the chapter. The stage is set and In paragraph one, murder and death are established as core elements of the story.

Sort:  

Oh what a lot of work you're doing deconstructing this novel! I might have to borrow this! What a lot of good info you're finding with this process. Are you writing your own book as you go?

I'm finding it fascinating to see the structure. I was surprised at how many characters she introduced in Chapter 1 and yet it did not seem overwhelming. I feel inspired to start thinking about writing a mystery. I know I should finish what I started but I also think that I need to try a mystery since that has always been my favorite to read.

Yes, I thought that sounded like a lot of characters, too! Do it, write a mystery. I'm sure you'd be great at that genre.

This seems like a beneficial technique for a writer to improve his/her skills. I might try this with some of my Georgette Heyer books – I aspire to her level of writing and storytelling expertise.

Oh I love her writing too. It's a real learning experience to look at it from this perspective. Something else -- and I have never tried it -- is taking a chapter of a beloved author's work and typing it out to get a feel for the rhythm of it.

I have actually done the one where you type out a chapter. In fact, I did that before I started my little novelette, “The Dance Plays On…” I posted an excerpt from it on my blog today. https://steemit.com/story/@momzillanc/the-dance-plays-on-teaser

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