Brick By Brick: Building Your Novel

Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, you’ve probably struggled occasionally with the direction to take when creating a new novel.

I know I have.

I traveled a very meandering road with my first novel Thicker Than Water (Brands Crossing Series). Partially, this occurred because I stubbornly clung to my conviction that I could only produce a worthy novel if I kept it “organic” and “spatial”–where did I come up with that? Another reason was the fact that I did not really know my story and the characters when I started. I learned all that while I was writing and had to go back and do extensive re-visions later.

Don’t get me wrong, half the fun of writing is discovering things you didn’t know about characters and story and I strongly suggest that every writer stays flexible enough to make changes when they are needed.

However …

With my second novel, I’ve taken a different approach and I have to admit it has been an easier and faster manuscript to complete.

What’s the difference?

I developed a plan for it before I started writing based on processes used in the construction of buildings.

After fifteen years of working in the development/construction/management industry (and working on my novel in every free moment), I discovered that many of the processes that are necessary to the successful erection of an apartment complex, office building or single-family residence could be used in the creation of a well-written, marketable novel.  Both require:


  •  A Strong Foundation
  •  Structural Support
  •  Attention To Mechanical Details
  •  Defined Characteristics
  •  Aesthetic Consistency
  •  Touch-ups
  •  Inspections
  •  A Marketing Plan.

Over the next few weeks, I will be exploring these parallels between building construction and novel creation.

I will also be teaching a class on this concept in August.

To register for the class you may click here to go to my website:  Click on the tab at the top for classes, then click on Creative Writing Classes and register.

In the meantime, all you pantsers and plotters, I’d love to hear your comments on this topic.

Can you see the parallels I mention?

Have you used these processes in creating your own novels?


About Sharon K Owen

I am a fiction writer, a university professor, a copy editor and an online writing teacher. My first Romantic Suspense: Thicker Than Water (Brands Crossing Series) was published in 2011 and the second book in the series, Whatever Goes Around, will be published in 2016. My short stories and poetry have been published in Descant, Concho River Review, Iron Horse, American Literary Review, Trinity Writer's Workshop newsletter and collections of Christmas stories. I am blessed with a loving, supportive family, a multitude of friends and the good fortune to share a cozy sanctuary in North Texas with my two cats (Matt and Cinders).

Posted on May 28, 2012, in Teaching, Uncategorized, Writers, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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