February 24, 2024


Science It Works

How to Write Your Novel Using a Formula

Think of writing your own novel? Experienced novelists, believe it or not, typically write from a basic formula, a tried-and-tested structure which they use to draw readers in. This is especially true of ones who sell blockbuster titles, those that place high on the bestseller lists.

In fact, you will notice this same feature as a default facility in many fiction writing software, where it is treated as an important (albeit, optional) part of the process. Every novel uses a different formula, each with its own process and structure. Obviously, it will depend a lot on the writer, although numerous things can also prove a factor, including the novel’s genre and the overall impressions you wish to create.

Here’s a sample structure that was used in the process of writing a recent medical thriller.

1. The main protagonist is an expert.

2. The chief villain is also an expert.

3. All evil actions are viewed with the main villain in the scene.

4. The main protagonist is aided by a capable team behind him.

5. A romantic involvement between at least one couple on the protagonist’s team should take place.

6. Two or more of the protagonist’s team must die.

7. All deaths should be viewed from the vantage point of either the protagonist or one of the characters in the team.

8. If, at any point, you feel stuck, kill someone.

From such a formula, you can produce what is pretty much a wide body of prose. Just throw in different characters, fresh conflicts and new plots, all while carefully sticking to the outlined structure.

If you’re having a hard time figuring out how you want to lay your work of fiction out, it’s a good idea to read through your favorite novel, using it as a model for putting together your own. Work to drill down the entire work as a simple formula as above and use it to successfully fashion your piece.