I have finished revising my first novel, a psychological thriller set in the English countryside, and am waiting to hear when I can send it back to the editor.   The revision process took just under three months and proved less difficult than I’d anticipated.

The novel complete, I now have some time on my hands, but I can rarely go through a day without doing some creative writing, so this evening I took a look at the first twelve chapters of my third novel, another psychological thriller.  A few months ago, a local novelist group read some of the chapters of the third novel and commented favourably on the writing style but not the plot.  Having carefully read through the material this evening and made notes, I would say that the writing style and plot are not yet up to standard, although a couple of the scenes really chilled me.  The plot itself doesn’t ring true at this stage.

As I read, I concentrated on themes and story questions, composing a basic structure that I think could work, especially with rotating viewpoints to develop atmosphere.   I’ve always liked working with more than one viewpoint to allow one perspective to complement another.   Recording the relevant story questions is crucial too, as having a clear list of areas to address helps the draft stay focused.  I recommend the novel writing software Storybook, an open source package that can be downloaded for free. Storybook enables writers to work in scenes with various theme strand charts, crucial for the novel’s structure.

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7 thoughts on “Themes And Viewpoint In Novel Writing

  1. I am wondering if, in a psychological thriller, the plot is as significant as style or theme. I’m thinking specifically of “No Country For Old Men” by Cormac McCarthy. The plot is simplistic but the dialogue and the scenes are incredibly deep and moving. The “resolution” of the problem does not seem as important as the feeling it evokes.
    In such a genre, how heavily do you weigh the story against the style and tone?

  2. Hi tikiman, the crime element of my novels was particularly lacking in terms of logic and plot, but I would agree that tone and writing style are crucial.

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