Author's Note CH1: The Big Idea CH2: Plotting CH3: Character CH4: Narration
CH5: Irony CH6: Fictional World CH7: Intellectual World CH8: Chapters  CH9: Research
CH10: Psychology of Creativity CH11: Editing CH12: Marketing Bibliography

This website is intended to provide the beginning novelist, or perhaps even the experienced novelist who has lost his way, with a discussion of the underlying structure and methods of novel writing. It is intended that the visitor to the site proceed by taking each chapter in sequence, since the concepts developed in each succeeding chapter depend strongly on those coming before. Any one wishing for an evaluation of their material developed using this website should click the link above.

The approach to novel writing presented in this website is original, although it does make use of concepts developed by other authors. In particular, I've appropriated the concept of the Premise as developed by Lajos Egri in his The Art of Dramatic Writing, although I do take exception to some of his understanding of what constitutes the Premise. My development is a complete approach to structuring all the elements of a novel so that they form a consistent and interrelated whole. In addition, I relate the Premise to elements of the analytical psychologist Carl Jung's interpretation of the human psyche. As a matter of fact, the entire development has been heavily influenced by Jung's thinking and in particular his use of ancient Greek myth. I believe this is the first time such a theory has been successfully developed.

This website is not a primer on what is generally called "creative writing", since many wonderful texts on that subject are already in print. The completion of the first nine chapters should provide the author with a rough draft for his novel. Chapter 10 provides the author with insight into his own creative processes. Chapters 11 and 12 provide some basic guidance concerning the editing and marketed of the completed novel.

Many of the ideas developed in this website concern basic storytelling and could just as easily apply to narrative non-fiction and perhaps even screenwriting.


I have consistently found it necessary to update my thoughts on novel writing. Indeed, no theory is ever fully complete, and as time passes new ideas come to mind that might be helpful to the novelist. As an example, the chapter concerning irony is still in development, although most of my thoughts on its importance in storytelling are currently presented. I will continue to update the website whenever I feel it is necessary.

-- David Sheppard

Copyright 1999-2005 by David Sheppard. The material in this website may not be reproduced in whole or in part by any means without permission. Contact the author at: