February 23, 2018

Writing With Structure

By  Jane Kirkpatrick, Author of All She Left Behind

My first editor, Rod Morris, suggested I read a book called Structuring Your Novel by Meredith and Fitzgerald.

It was great advice! Those authors suggested an organizing practice that I’ve kept for my thirty novels since.

I answer three questions:

1)      What is my intention or what is this story about?

2)       What is my attitude about this story or what do I feel deeply about?

3)       What is my purpose or how do I hope a reader might be changed by reading this book?

I might write a dozen pages answering each one but I try to get it down to one sentence for each question. I post those on my computer so when I feel lost or wonder why I ever thought I could write this story, I can look there and see just what I need to do. It reduces my panic and helps me sort out whether I really need to know what colors Crayola had in 1910! I can get side-tracked easily.

This practice keeps me focused which is what every writer needs to do to keep them writing toward “the end.”  
Jane Kirkpatrick is the New York Times and CBA bestselling author of more than thirty books, including All She Left Behind, A Light in the Wilderness, The Memory Weaver, This Road We Traveled, and A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. Her works have been finalists for the Christy Award, Spur Award, Oregon Book Award, and Reader’s Choice awards, and have won the WILLA Literary Award, USA Best Books, the Carol Award for Historical Fiction, and the 2016 Will Rogers Medallion Award. Jane lives in Central Oregon with her husband, Jerry. Learn more at

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