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How to write a novel-Step-2-Write the main story arc


So, you want to write a novel?

In this series, I’ll detail out my process of writing a novel. How I converted a simple idea into 70,000 (Scrabble Queen) and 80,000 (Penniless) word manuscripts?

I will use my latest writing project Bhumiyin Kathai (Bhumi’s story) as an example, so that it can serve as an inspiration for you. (Totally selfish reasons, while trying to explain stuff to you, I am getting the motivation to complete outlining the story 😁)

I am writing this story (eventually as a screenplay) to serve as a backdrop and an interest creator for this course -

Right, back to novel writing.

What after the one line story?

Step 2
Write the main story arc.

For Bhumiyin Kathai:

  • Bhumi is outright broke, but wants to go to college (Hook)
  • Bhumi runs away from home and ends up in Hassan Arts College because of helping Okano (Plot Turn 1)
  • Bhumi enrolls in a computer course on Okano’s insistence (Plot turn 1)
  • Bhumi topped the first English exam ahead of Param, Param’s schoolmate and friend plants evidence of Bhumi cheating and the teacher voids her marks (Pinch 1)
  • Bhumi wants to make amends, she pleads with the HOD and she grants her one chance - to present to her teacher
  • Bhumi makes a presentation, but teacher ends up failing her
  • Bhumi trains hard in computer science (app dev), presentation skills, webpage development (Mid-point)
  • Bhumi decides that she has to help her sisters and brother out
  • Okano finds out Bhumi had been lying about her mom (Pinch 2)
  • Bhumi gets to know of a hackathon and enrolls as a team (Plot Turn 2)
  • Her alpha version of the app bombs (FailTry1)
  • Her beta version of the app also bombs (FailTry2)
  • She ends up intercepting Okano’s email (FailTry3)
  • Bhumi wins the hackathon and uses the prize money to give scholarship to girl students from Jaanathur (Resolution)

Write out the entire story of your main character.

The main points of a good story arc are the following:

Initial boring or troubling situation of the character
Plot Turn 1
This is where the character takes on something that they’ve done before (Call to action)
Pinch 1
Also known as monster attack - This is to make the character regret the decision to have responded to the call to action
The character has had enough of reacting, from now on, they want to press ahead with some concrete action
Pinch 2
This another external event that applies additional pressure on the character usually making them lonely.
Plot Turn 2
The penultimate stage of the arc where the character acts on their own, there could some strokes of luck, but this is heading to the face off between the character and their opposing forces.
Ultimate challenge that the character faces, usually, the opposite of the Hook. All loose ends are wrapped up here.

Read out your full arc and see if it reads a fully self contained story with topsy turvy action and increasing level of stakes for the character.

Good luck with this part of your novel writing!

If you need my help looking over your novel or screenplay or any of the stuff I mention in this post, please do reach out to me at

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