How To Write a Novel — Act 2 Thread Weaving

Day 23 of writing my novel in public

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

I’ve started something scary here on Medium. It’s something I’ve done before, but never in public. I have a process that I’m going to follow, and I’d like to share it with you.

If you want to follow the journey from the start, go here.

If you missed yesterday’s, you can find it here.

Day 23 — Act 2 Thread Weaving

Yesterday I worked on the first quarter of my book, weaving the story threads together to come up with a scene list. Today I’m going to focus on the second quarter of the book, which I’m calling Act 2 (in three act structure this would be the first half of the second act, but I used to be a maths teacher so I’m working with four roughly equal quarters rather than three unevenly spaced thirds).

There are many ways of outlining a novel, but the one that I’m working on comes from Book Architecture by Stuart Horwitz. The subtitle is How to Plot and Outline Without Using a Formula which appeals to me. In his books, he gives examples of outlines that were written this way from Catch 22 by Joseph Heller to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling.

I have created my story threads (what Horwitz calls Series) for characters, relationships, setting, phrases and symbols. What I am doing now is fitting those threads into my scenes.

I’m into the tricky middle section and I have had to fill in some gaps in the story. The granny security guard (who still doesn’t have a name as yet) is taking a slightly bigger role as she solves the problem of how Charlie can bake 10,000 cupcakes — this fits with her having a high IQ.

I also have some cleaners who talk some more about the mysterious penthouse, Miasmus’ private quarters. His bedroom is a pigsty. Literally. It is where Boo and Kay live. He cleans them himself. They say it smells like a dead body and this gets Charlie thinking.

There is a twist in the middle scene where the dead body is actually the stinking corpse lily. It isn’t actually a dead body, but it makes Charlie think Miasmus is behind all the thefts, though he still doesn’t know why.

My Act 2 Thread Weaving

So here is my scene list for Act 2, showing the story threads.

Act 2 Scene Story Weaving by the author


The story is coming together. As I weave the story threads together into scenes, new ideas form to fill in the gaps.

Tomorrow I will look at weaving together the story threads for the third quarter, Act 3, into my scene grid.

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If you want to try the process with me and write your own novel, I’d love to have you join me on this journey. Put in the comments on how you went with this step.

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