My Novelling Journey – a story in 3 acts

ACT ONE – The Setup

Act One is all about setting the stage: readers should get an idea of who your protagonist is, what their everyday life is like, and what’s important to them.


2003: I stepped down from a very stressful and time-consuming job as a director of a medium-sized company, and became a computer technician in primary schools. As a by-product of this, I now had the time and ‘head space’ to be able to seriously think about my writing again. I had dabbled in the years before, but my prime focus was on developing my career and earning money

I began by joining a new discussion group, Get Writing, on the BBC website. We discusses short stories, and I began to concentrate on those. It was a great way of ‘learning the ropes’ of writing craft. You could write a new piece each week and get feedback on that. Giving feedback to others helped with my own writing, too.

I entered a few competitions, submitted my stories to a number of literary magazines. I had a little success, here and there, but nothing substantial. But what I was able to do was to build up a collection of short stories, with the intention of self-publishing them.

In the same period, I was enjoying National Novel Writing Month each November (NaNoWriMo – write 50,000 words in a month). The ‘things’ I produced weren’t novels. They were nowhere near, and most of them weren’t even completed stories.


This is the catalyst that sets the protagonist’s adventure in motion. 

2009: I began thinking about my stories, and what I should do with them. Although they might not have been good enough to win a subjective competition, they still had some value as entertainment.

During a conversation with a neighbour, she told me she never read short stories. She only ever read novels. If I was going to self-publish my writing, with the intention of gaining readership and maybe earning royalties, maybe I should think about actually working towards finishing, editing and publishing novels?

I think I need to consider taking novel writing more seriously.


It’s full speed ahead now! Think of the First Plot Point as the springboard that launches your character into Act Two.

2010: I publish my collection of short and micro-fiction, and turn my attention, full time, to writing novels.

I looked at the long-form fiction I’d written, but couldn’t face rewriting them and then completing them and editing and polishing to a publishable standard. And besides, I had several really great ideas which would make novels worthy of being published. Maybe I should just carry on, and actually write and finish and edit some of my longer-form fiction?

Tomorrow – Act Two!

Thanks to the Reedsy Blog Three Act Structure

I have just completed my one-minute pitch for the Efficient Novelist course! See below:

The course, when it is available, will be at:

The YouTube channel associated with it is:

The book:

If you’re interested in the Efficient Novelist program, there’s a Twitter account, but it’s fairly quiet at the moment. It might be worth a follow for future updates: @EfficientNovels
The book is available from Amazon, and the online course is launching on May 1st 2022.

And if you found this blog post interesting or useful or a brilliant way to procrastinate, please consider buying me a coffee at

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