Thursday, May 24, 2018

How To Write A Novel Readers Love - The List

Dear friend,

Kudos to you for deftly creating a desperate inner struggle between your hero’s greatest goal versus his longstanding misbelief. You also created inner struggles for your other major characters

Now it time to think about your basic storyline for your novel. To do this, you need to understand in great detail the correct definition of story.

Here again is Lisa Cron’s definition of the word “story”:



A story is how what happens affects someone in pursuit of a deceptively difficult goal, and how he or she changes internally as a result.

Let’s separate the important parts of this definition.

“What happens” refers to the events of the story that construct your plot. In effect, “what happens” is the plot.

“Someone” refers to your protagonist, hero or heroine.

“Pursuit of a deceptively difficult goal” refers to the story question. Another way to think of it is to ask the question, “Will the protagonist achieve her deceptively difficult goal?”

“How he or she changes internally as a result” refers to the process of your protagonist’s transformation of heart and mind throughout the story. First, she is blind to her longstanding misbelief. After a while, she questions it. Then, she struggles with it. When she can't stand her misbelief any longer, she confronts it. Finally, she overcomes the misbelief that has been wrecking her life for so long.


The longstanding misbelief no longer has a hold on your protagonist. She is free to achieve her greatest goal as a result of defeating her misbelief.

The internal change your protagonist experiences is what readers come to your story for. They want to experience that internal change with her.



Your reader wants to be the hero.
Your reader wants to be the heroine.
Your reader wants to know how his or her internal change feels.


Your reader wants to change with the protagonist.

Now, what you need to figure out is the internal change your heroine will undergo. And how, exactly she will make that necessary change. Or, should I say, how the story’s events, otherwise known as the plot, will force her to change.

In my novel, From Bad Girl To Worse, I reviewed my notes on all of the important things about my young heroine, Sandra Porter. I reviewed things like her greatest goal, her longstanding misbelief and who she was on the day before the story began.


I used this information to construct a punch list of how I envisioned the story’s events playing out. Why did I do this? Because I wanted to have a good idea of which plot points would force poor little Sandra to change inside, turn by turn.

I called this list the basic story flow list. It started with…

-    Sandra looks at her sad home life before she heads out the door for school.
-    Sandra bumps into her aunt--the aunt who doesn’t even talk to her--purposely just to get her to say something. Anything. Sandra’s heart breaks when her aunt still refuses to respond.
-    Before Sandra leaves the house, she grabs a picture off of her bedroom dresser. In the picture, she and her mother are embracing each other. They are smiling. She places the picture beside her catatonic mother, hoping that her mother will look at it, snap out of her psychotic trance, and return to normal.
-    Sandra arrives at school and meets up with her friend, Lexie.


This basic story flow list goes on and on from the first event in the story to the last. Here’s the final event in the list.

-    Sandra takes hold of the jail cell door bars with both hands. She smiles because she feels like she’s achieved something far greater than having a true friend, even though she’s alone once again, as she was in the beginning of the story. Sandra has found her sense of self-respect.


As you review your basic story flow list, you should be able to get a handle on what your story might look like once you review the important things (goal, misbelief, snapshot of “before”). These important things should help you build a logical story flow. Once you complete your list, you will be ready to move onto the next phase--identifying how the events in your list will become your novel’s plot points.


In my next letter to you, I will show you how to structure your story in a format that readers love. And it’s the same structure that all the major blockbuster movies are built upon.

Onward to success,


L. R. Farren

Author of From Bad Girl To Worse


P. S. – The whole purpose of your novel’s plot is to force your protagonist to confront and overcome her longstanding misbelief, and gain the strength and courage to pursue her greatest goal unhindered by fear.



Wednesday, May 23, 2018

How To Write A Novel Readers Love - The Others

Way to go! You have created your protagonist. You’ve given her a meaningful goal and a longstanding misbelief—the perfect ingredients for an enduring inner struggle.

But what about your other major characters?

Unless you plan to write a novel where your protagonist spends his entire time marooned on a deserted island, alone, he will have to interact with someone else at some point. Chances are excellent that he will have several major characters to interact with throughout the novel.

The most important thing you need to know about your other major characters is the reason why each of them appears in the story. They are not there simply to occupy 200 to 300 pages just to look pretty. They must have a compelling reason to be in your narrative.

Keep this truth in mind: Your other major characters have a place in the story because they will ultimately have a significant influence on your heroine’s internal change. Yes, these characters each have their own agenda, but the thing you need to make sure of is that these characters’ goals either help or hinder your protagonist concerning the pursuit of her goal.

How will you accomplish this? It’s simple. But it requires some work.

You know how to create a monumental goal and an equally monumental longstanding misbelief for your hero. You can put this knowledge to work by creating goals and misbeliefs for each of your other major characters.

Let’s look at a snapshot of the other major characters in From Bad Girl To Worse.

-    Alexis “Lexie” Brockway – Sandra’s newfound best friend
-    Michael “Mack” Adcock – Sandra’s newfound love interest
-    Jeffrey “Stan” Stanley – newfound necessary evil friend and leader of the crew of criminals Sandra joins.
-    Daniel “Del” Deltore – the hang-around of the crew, and annoyance of Sandra.

Here’s a quick rundown of each character’s goals and misbeliefs.

-    Lexie’s goal – Lexie wants someone in her life that she can trust.
-    Lexie’s misbelief – Lexie believes that people will befriend her only to use her to get what they want. She believes she’s just a pawn in someone else’s game.
-    Mack’s goal – Mack wants to feel like he really matters to someone. He desires to feel important and needed by others.
-    Mack’s misbelief – Mack feels like he’s invisible to people. He feels overlooked, brushed aside by the people in his life.
-    Stan’s goal – Stan wants to be as bad of a bad guy as his father and his criminal uncle, Gav. He wants credibility as a hardcore criminal.
-    Stan’s misbelief – Stan believes that he’s worthless. He’s nothing to nobody. He believes he will always be nothing but a gigantic loser.
-    Del’s goal – Del wants people he can call friends. He wants to belong to a group and feel like he’s a part of something. Anything.
-    Del’s misbelief – Del believes that in order to gain friends, he’s got to do whatever someone else tells or dares him to do. Even if it means degrading or incriminating himself. He feels like he has to debase himself to gain acceptance.

Hopefully, you spot two things in these character sketches. First, you should spot how everyone has different specific goals and misbeliefs, yet they somehow all play into Sandra’s driving need for acceptance. Second, you should spot the toxic mix of desires and wounds in each of these characters, which is sure to cause nothing but trouble for poor Sandra.

And that’s exactly what readers want to see—the emotional train wreck that will happen when all of these characters get together.

Creating goals and misbeliefs for your other major characters is a key element in crafting a novel that readers love.

Don’t think of it as hard work. Think of it as fun—because it is.

In my next letter to you, we will dive into how to construct your story line.

Happy writing,



L. R. Farren
Author of From Bad Girl To Worse


P. S. – Your other major characters should aggressively challenge your protagonist’s longstanding misbelief and force her to confront and overcome it. 



Tuesday, May 22, 2018

How To Write A Novel Readers Love - The Rail

In the last letter, you identified your protagonist’s longstanding misbelief. You also pinpointed why, how, where and when that misbelief took hold in your hero’s life.

But to stop there would be a grave mistake. Why?


Your protagonist’s misbelief must grow deeper before your story can force her to confront and overcome it.

How do you deepen your heroine’s longstanding misbelief? By identifying at least one other significant event that she experienced since the origin of her misbelief. And this significant event must deepen her misbelief. 

I would highly recommend creating at least three significant events for your protagonist to experience, each at different ages and stages of her life.

This is actually how the idea for the novel From Bad Girl To Worse came to me. In the beginning, I was working on a novella idea where an abused wife plots to kill her alcoholic husband and run away with her lover—during a Cape Cod Noreaster storm. The protagonist in this story was—yep, you guessed it—Sandra Porter. In this story, she was in her early thirties, and a world-weary barfly. Her last name was Libbey.

I created three significant events for her, thinking this was the story I was going to write. But as I crafted the misbelief defining events, a whole new idea emerged. One of these events stood out as a great young adult novel idea.

Here was how I originally wrote the misbelief deepening event:

At sixteen years old, Sandra aggressively throws her abusive father out of the house, and her mentally unstable mother goes completely crazy with grief as a result of her husband’s absence.

I had created another misbelief origin scene for Sandra At the age of fourteen, she failed a Home Economics test and her teacher told her she would never be able to make a man happy or be a good homemaker because she couldn’t bake.

Here are the three original misbelief deepening scenes I created for Sandra.

-    At the age of fifteen, a rich boy at school rejected Sandra. The boy rejected her because he considered her “white trash”.
-    At the age of sixteen, Sandra kicks her alcoholic father out of the house. Her father leaves for good and her mother goes into a catatonic state because her husband is gone. She’s left with no family.
-    At the age of nineteen, Sandra shacks up with a drug dealer and gets attacked by him immediately after a police drug unit raids the apartment she’s living in. She flushes the drugs down the toilet before the police find them. She winds up killing her twenty nine year old boyfriend in self defense when he attacks her for disposing of the drugs.

 

Because these scenes blossomed in my mind, I was able to visualize how each of them might play out and become stories of their own. Sandra’s confrontation with her father jumped out at me as the perfect place to start a story about a teenage girl who is lonely and will do just about anything to gain acceptance.

Hopefully you can see the value of dreaming up several misbelief defining and deepening scenes. You just might birth one or more bestselling novel ideas from this sort of exercise. It will certainly help you get to know your protagonist in an intimate way.

These scenes should make your protagonist falsely believe that her misbelief is continuing to save her from heartache and pain.

When your heroine’s longstanding misbelief is lodged so deep into her heart and mind like a shard of glass, fierce battles between fear and desire will rage within her every time she tries to pursue her coveted goal.

In the case of Sandra Porter in From Bad Girl To Worse, the misbelief that she can’t form meaningful relationships will cause problems every time she tries to strengthen the friendships with her newfound friends. And this struggle has the firepower to endure through the entire length of the novel.

Epic struggles are what keep readers turning pages—especially when the struggles are as primal as fear versus desire. These two viciously opposing forces actually forge what’s known as the “third rail”.


What’s the “third rail”?

Think of a subway train, or Google a picture if you’ve never seen one before. The subway train is powered by an electric charge that a literal third rail supplies. The third rail runs parallel to the tracks that the subway train rides on. As long as the train stays connected to the third rail, it will keep moving.

So, in order for your story to become a novel that readers will love, the plot and the storyline need to be connected to the “third rail”, the clash between your protagonist’s desire and her longstanding misbelief. When you create this dynamic, your readers will keep right on reading from the first word to the last.

As I conclude this letter, know this simple fact: The deeper and more complex you make your heroine’s misbelief, the compelling your novel will be.

Warmest regards,


L. R. Farren
Author of From Bad Girl To Worse


P. S. – Make sure the first inciting incident that births your protagonist’s longstanding misbelief is more emotionally significant than the other three following misbelief deepening scenes. The next three scenes should deepen her misbelief so subtly, she doesn’t even realize it’s happening. 


Monday, May 21, 2018

How To Write A Novel Readers Love – The Misbelief

Congratulations! You have figured out one of the most important things about your novel: What your protagonist wants more than anything else in the world.

But it’s only one of the most important things.

There’s another thing that’s equally important. And you must figure it out as well.


What is it?

It is…your protagonist’s fear.

You must identify the deep-seated fear, wound or hang-up that keeps your protagonist from easily getting what she wants more than her necessary food and water.

But the words “fear,” “wound” and “hang-up” seem a little judgmental, don’t you think?

What if there was a word, or a phrase that more accurately describes the thing that keeps your hero from reaching his goal, but without all the unnecessary condemnation?

Ah, but there is such a phrase. It is the…


Longstanding Misbelief

The inner issue that keeps your heroine trapped in fear, doubt and emotional paralysis is what as known as her longstanding misbelief. Pay close attention to the word “longstanding”. Your heroine’s misbelief didn’t start overnight. It’s something that she adopted a long time ago, probably during her childhood or adolescent period.

By now, you are likely asking two questions.

1.    What is a misbelief?
2.    Why should I care?

A misbelief is something that a person misguidedly believes about herself, other people, or the world, that just isn’t true. She might believe something like, “The sweeter people act toward you, the more they want to take advantage of you”.

A person might cling to such a foolish misbelief so tight that it not only seems true, it seems normal. And in most cases, the person doesn’t even realize she clinging onto the misbelief.

Many people have had something bad happen to them as children, which mentally or emotionally wounded them. In the hearts and minds of such people, these wounds birthed a morbid fear of the hurtful things that caused them.

One person might have fallen from a high place as a child and an older sibling just laughed at him when he hit the ground. Another person might have gotten separated from her parents at a state fair, and wandered the fairgrounds in tears, fighting heavy crowds in search of her mother and father. Still, another person might have been locked in a dark room alone, and he nearly beat the door into splinters trying to get out.

These people now fear heights, crowds and the dark. But just because the traumatic events that caused the fears and wounds happened once doesn’t mean they will happen again. Yet, each person developed a defense mechanism against the specific things they came to fear most. They rationalize their fears, assuring themselves that their fears provide a sense of safety.

At the time the people in the above examples developed their fears, they seemed right. To them, their fears were absolutely right. But later in life, as they continue to struggle with their evolving fears, their resulting wounds cause nothing but problems.

In real life, these fear-driven phenomena are debilitating. In your story, these phenomena are critical.


You, the writer, must identity what your protagonist’s longstanding misbelief is.

Your protagonist’s longstanding misbelief must act in direct opposition her greatest desire. They must wage war with each other. Allow me to use an example from my novel From Bad Girl To Worse in an effort to explain what I mean.

Sandra Porter wants a true friend more than anything else in the world. But she has a longstanding misbelief that she can’t do anything right—including maintaining any kind of friendship. She believes she is unable to form human relationships at any level with anyone else. She fears that the closer she tries to get to someone, the further she will push her or him away.

Sandra misguidedly believes that she doesn’t deserve a chance to have a deep friendship with anyone because she’ll only end up destroying it.

But why does she believe this?

We need to dig deeper into Sandra’s life to find out more information about her fear. It isn’t enough for her to have a misbelief. We need to know more. We need to answer another important question.

Why does your protagonist have such a deep-seated longstanding misbelief?

You not only need to know that your heroine does in fact, have a longstanding misbelief capable of wrecking her life. You need to know what caused it in the first place.

So, why does your protagonist have her misbelief?

I answered the question for Sandra, my heroine, something like this…

Sandra adopted her longstanding misbelief when she sent her father away during a bitter fight between them. She was sixteen years old at the time. And when Sandra sent her father away, her mother went into a catatonic state. Her mother lost the ability to communicate with anyone—including her—in any way. Effectively, Sandra lost both parents on the day she kicked her daddy out of the house.

There is a third follow-up question you must ask in order to dig even deeper into your heroine’s misbelief.


At what point did your protagonist’s worldview get skewed toward her longstanding misbelief?

In other words, what exactly happened on the day your protagonist developed that fear, wound or hang-up that birthed her longstanding misbelief? When did it happen?

To answer this question, I wrote a scene where Sandra confronted her alcoholic father during a family fight. During this fight, Sandra told her father to leave. And guess what? He did. He walked straight out the front door of their house.

For the sake of time and space, I won’t include the whole scene here. But I did write a short short story that showed this scenario playing out, what the tragic results were and how they affected Sandra internally.

You must write a short story about how your protagonist received her wound, which birthed her deep-seated fear that turned into her longstanding misbelief. In this short story, you must show the reader how your protagonist reacted internally, how she felt about what happened.

Once you have a clear picture of your heroine’s misbelief, you can begin to create a series of events in your story, otherwise known as the plot, where you force her deepest desire and her deep-seated fear to wage war with each other.

One thing you should know about the longstanding misbelief you create for your protagonist: Even though it might seem like a wrong way of thinking or looking at a situation, to your protagonist, the misbelief seems totally right. In fact, your protagonist will claim it had kept her safe for many years. It’s like a security blanket to her.

Your job is to show her just how off base she is, and that misbelief is the core source of her life’s misery.  This is an important ingredient in writing a novel readers love.

In the next letter, you will discover the secret of how to do just that.

Here’s to your storytelling success,


L. R. Farren

Author of From Bad Girl To Worse


P. S. – A longstanding misbelief doesn’t always have to be the product of a bad experience. Misbeliefs can form as a result of seemingly good experiences during childhood or adolescence, misbeliefs such as being rich is the only way to gain friends.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

How To Write A Novel Readers Love – The Want

Dear friend,

You are doing wonderful!

You have named your protagonist and birthed him or her into the world. You’re ready to begin shaping your firstborn creation.

Right now, you’re probably thinking about things like what color eyes, hair and skin he or she has. You’re trying to decide what kind of job he has, where she goes to school or what kind of car he drives.

Stop it. Forget about all that right now.

What? Forget about what my protagonist looks like?

Exactly. Fuggettaboutit! The car, the school, the physical appearance. All of it. None of that matters at this point. But there is one thing that does matter about your protagonist…one important thing.
What does your protagonist want more than anything in the world?

The first thing you must nail down about your protagonist is what she wants more than anything else. Think about the one thing your heroine desires about all other things. It must be something significant such as a large sum of money, a new job, a promotion, the love of a parent, or a soul mate who loves unconditionally.

I answered the above question this way.

In From Bad Girl To Worse, the protagonist, Sandra Porter, wants friends worse than anything. At the beginning of the story, she befriends a quirky girl named Lexie. She also meets up with an edgy guy named Mack.

Her desire is to form a deeper relationship with these two, even though her gut keeps telling to her to stay as far away from both of them as she can. Her deep-seated need for their friendship ends up winning out over her primal fight-or-flight urge.

What does your protagonist want?

After you answer this question, there are two more questions to answer when thinking about what your protagonist wants.

1.    What exactly would have to happen, literally, for your protagonist to get what she wants, and be truly happy?
2.    Why does your protagonist feel like she needs to get what she wants?

It’s not enough for your heroine to want something more than anything else in the world. You must also figure out why she wants it so badly, and what would have to happen for her to feel like she’s gotten what she wants. You must figure out what would make your protagonist happy about winning her prize.

You must know why your protagonist wants what she wants.

For Sandra Porter, I answered the first question about my heroine getting what she wants something like this…

Sandra wants friends because up until the point where she starts spending time with Lexie, she’s been completely alone. She hasn’t had any friends—or even any family. She has not had any human connection. Her parents made her feel like she doesn’t deserve friends. The only thing she deserves is solitude.

Deep down, she wants to know in her heart that she’s worthy of having friends and meaningful relationships. She wants to see something valuable about herself. She believes that if she can have at least one true friend in her life, she can prove to her parents—and to the world—that she is special and worthy of friendship.

I answered the second question about what would have to happen in order for Sandra to be truly happy like this…

In order for Sandra to feel like she’s gotten what she wants, and be truly happy, she have a true friend that she would be able to bare her soul to. The true friend in this case, is Lexie. Lexie would be the type of friend who accepts Sandra unconditionally, tell Sandra that she really understands how Sandra feels. And that friend would keep Sandra’s deepest darkest secrets safe.

This friend would also stand up for Sandra at all times, and never put her down.

If Sandra can get and keep a friend who does these things, she will feel like she’s gotten what she wants, and be happy for once in her life.

Knowing what your protagonist wants more than anything, and more important, why she wants it, is one of the most critical steps in writing a novel that readers love.

Keep in mind that you must be specific in naming the thing your protagonist wants. Yet, make that something a prize that others, like your readers, want. She must want something that has significant meaning to her. If you do this, you will quickly create a bond of empathy between your heroine and your reader. To say it another way, your reader will quickly like your protagonist.

Identifying something significant that your hero wants will also help you craft a storyline that can span the entire length of a novel with ease.

In my next letter, we will pinpoint what keeps your hero from easily getting what she wants.

Happy writing.


L. R. Farren
Author of From Bad Girl To Worse

P. S. – Oftentimes, by the end of the story, the protagonist finds out that what she thought she wanted was not really what she wanted at all, and that something else entirely ends up making her happy. Why? Because that something else is what she really wanted all along.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

How To Write A Novel Readers Love – The Who

Kudos! You have your story genre nailed down, and you’re ready to move on to the next step.

In this letter, you will discover a big secret to writing a novel that readers love. This secret will crack your plot mystery wide open. Here it is.

It’s not what your story is about that matters. It’s about who your story is about that means everything.

Every great story has one central character that everyone and everything else focuses on. This person is your protagonist, or hero/heroine.

This is the person we all get to know in an intimate way. We root for her when all seems lost. We fall in love with him when he achieves his greatest triumph in the finale.

What you will find out next is how to make sure readers adore your protagonist. It all begins with one simple question…


Whose story is it?

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet some writers focus on the plot of their story without first figuring out who’s going to navigate it. This is a dangerously backward approach. And if you go down this rocky road, you will have a difficult time writing a story that makes sense.

You will have an even more difficult time finishing your story. Or even starting it.

In order to write a novel that readers love, you must identify not only “The Big What If”, but you must also identify “The Big Who”. Who will your novel will be about?


This is where you give your protagonist a name.

For my novel, From Bad Girl To Worse, I named my protagonist Sandra Porter.

Here’s some insight into why I chose that name. My goal was to create a heroine who was enough like a seventeen-year-old high school girl that readers could easily empathize with. I also wanted a protagonist unique enough to stand out in readers’ minds and stay with them long after they finished reading the story.

The heroine’s last name, Porter, seemed to fit that bill. It’s not an unusual name, and makes her like “one of us”, which is very important in a story. Her first name, Sandra, stands out from the crowd just enough to be noticed. Chances are pretty good that you don’t know many Sandras.

And I just like the way the name sounds.

Regarding the story, Sandra Porter is the sun in our universe in From Bad Girl To Worse. Everything that every other character does or says must affect her in some significant way. Yes, the other characters will have their own goals and fears, but readers should ultimately care about Sandra’s goals and fears, whether she gets what she wants, and how she feels about her victory or defeat.

Regarding your protagonist, your readers should want to follow her through the entire story…from the first word to the last. They should laugh with her, cry with her, fail with her and succeed with her.


Your readers should feel what your protagonist feels.

Is all of this beginning to make sense? Hopefully by now, you are getting a clear mental picture of your hero or heroine. And you can actually see that person standing right in front of you.

By now, you should at least know her name.

Well, do you?

If so, then congratulations! You’ve just identified by name the compelling protagonist your story will be about.

But that’s only the beginning. In my next letter to you, we get to turn your named lead character into a living, breathing, struggling, losing and winning human being that your readers will love.


Happy creating,


L. R. Farren
Author of From Bad Girl To Worse


P. S. – Liking the person you are about to go on a three hundred page narrative journey with is one of the most important elements of your story. If you don’t like your protagonist, neither will your readers.

How To Write A Novel Readers Love – The Genre

Dear storyteller,

You’re doing a terrific job!

You now have all of the essential ingredients to begin writing a novel that readers love. You have your story’s point, the first spark of the idea, the reason you care about the story and the “Big What If”.

So…what kind of story are you writing? Do you know? To ask this question another way, what genre will your story fall into? At this point, you may be thinking, “Well…my story is a mystery. Or a thriller. Or a romance.”

But I’m not talking about those kinds of genres. I’m talking about story genres that more sharply define the kind of story you’re telling. I’m talking about story genres as defined by the late great Blake Snyder in his screenwriting book, “Save The Cat!”. This is highly recommended reading if you’re serious about becoming a writer, or storyteller.

If you are not familiar with Blake Snyder, or his work, you may click here for more information.


What does screenwriting have to do with novels?

We’ll get to that in just a moment. For now, let’s discuss Mr. Snyder’s work on story genres a little further.

In his book, Save The Cat!, Blake Snyder identifies ten story genres that just about every story ever told falls into, whether in print or on screen. For example, Jaws and Alien fall into the same story genre, Monster In The House. Love Comes Softly and When Harry Met Sally also fall into the same story genre, Buddy Love.

If you want to master the craft of storytelling, you need to become intimately familiar with all ten story genres, and how they work. For the sake of time, I will not list them all here.  Instead, visit Save The Cat!, and absorb them into your brain. To say it another way…


Know thy ten story genres.

Go ahead, familiarize yourself with them…I’ll wait.

Are you finished? Great! Now that you’re back, let’s continue.

My novel, From Bad Girl To Worse falls into what is known as the “Institutionalized” genre. The three key elements of this story type are…group, choice and sacrifice.

Here’s the definition: “An outsider’s way to save her individuality is by going against the many who wish to integrate her into their fold.”

Let’s see how the elements and definition of this particular story genre apply to the basic storyline of From Bad Girl To Worse.

-    My young protagonist is an outsider who gets accepted into a questionable group of misfits.
-    This group commits criminal acts of mischief and mayhem.
-    The members persuade the lonely young heroine to commit such impish acts with them.
-    Piece by piece, the heroine loses her own identity as she assumes the malevolent identity that the dangerous group wants her to embrace.
-    By the end of the story, the young protagonist realizes what’s going on and courageously leaves the group by turning them, and herself in to police.

From this example, you can see how knowing the Save The Cat! story genres can help you plot your novel. I used the key elements and the definition of the “Institutionalized” genre to do exactly that with From Bad Girl To Worse.

Framing the plot and the story within the confines of the “Institutionalized” type gave me a solid story structure to build on as I crafted my lonely and conflicted heroine’s journey through it. And the structure guided her through her process of internal change.


Story fact: All stories are about transformation.

This may seem like a lot of information to process. If you’re not familiar with any of the concepts I am revealing to you, it is. But don’t give up. Stay with me. It’s simple, once you put these concepts to work in your own writing. Take some time to study Blake Snyder’s story genres. Memorize them.

If you do, all the work you put in will be well worth it when you emerge with a novel that readers love.

Keep at it. In the end, you’ll be glad you did.

Best wishes,


L. R. Farren
Author of From Bad Girl To Worse


P. S. – I have personally read all of Blake Snyder’s books at least six times...and taken notes from them. I highly recommend that you buy all of the Save The Cat! books and read them until you can memorize each page word for word.  The wisdom you will gain will help you exponentially in crafting your story.

How To Write A Novel Readers Love - The List

Dear friend, Kudos to you for deftly creating a desperate inner struggle between your hero’s greatest goal versus his longstanding misbeli...