Friday, June 22, 2012


The Pyramid on a Point Method for starting your novel


That first sentence, or logline, you wrote in step one, is the foundation of your novel. I know it was hard to write. You probably rewrote it dozens of times before you were satisfied. But what a good feeling after it’s done! You’ve got a great idea and now you’re ready to turn that spark into a full-fledged novel.
You’ll use that first sentence to build from, laying the groundwork for an entire paragraph. It should include the status quo at the beginning of the novel, add what obstacles the protagonist encounters, and how the novel ends. You can use key names or phrases from your summary sentence as a starting point. Unlike a blurb advertising your book, this paragraph is for your eyes only since the ending will be given away.
Using the one-sentence summary step we developed for The Time Machine as an example for writing a logline, here is how it could be expanded.

            The book opens with the Time Traveler dining with peers in the late 1800s England, where he is trying to convince them that he’s invented a time machine. His guests are naturally skeptical. They arrange to dine again in a week, and when they return, the Time Traveler tells them he’s visited the future. He discovered two humanoid races remaining on the planet: the beautiful and childlike Eloi, and the subterranean, haunted Morlocks. He explains his idyllic time eating fruit with the Elois and exploring the area, followed by his discovery that the Morlocks raise and harvest the Eloi like cattle. He ends by describing his escape from the time period, including his burning of the forest, the wresting of his time machine from the Morlocks, and the loss of Weena, his Eloi friend. Distraught, he travels further into the future where he witnesses the death of humanity and the planet. Finally, he returns to the time period he left, providing an exotic flower from Ween as proof of his travels.

            Notice that the ending must be given away to make the paragraph work for you. You’ll be the only one seeing it and you’ll be returning to tweak it as you continue working through the seven steps. Revising as new ideas occur is an important element of writing.

Dear Readers,
I received a comment that these steps were being posted too slowly. I apologize if you feel that way too, but I believe there is value in looking at them individually and following along, applying them to your work. I usually post weekly, but I’ll try to get the steps to you on closer intervals.
Again, this approach was developed by author Jessi Lourey.
Thanks for visiting,


  1. Writer Dave here.
    Good tips on starting your novel, keep them coming.
    I tweaked my summary paragraph several times before I
    finished my novel.You get new ideas as you get deeper into the story.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Dave! I really liked this method for its simplicity and plan on using
      it for novel 3.
      Stay tuned. Next is making a character bible!

  2. Marla,
    You've got a great site here! I'll definitely be visiting more often!

  3. Thanks, Stephanie!
    Appreciate your stopping by. I'm hoping to have the third step up tonight. This is such a busy week here, and my son's
    been visiting. Excuses, excuses!
    NIce to meet you and hope to hear from you again!

  4. THank you Marla. I'm finding these steps very helpful :)

  5. I'm so glad, Constance! I went to a seminar where this method was taught and I fell in love with its
    simplicity and I'm hoping I'll be able to apply them to my next novel. Good luck with your writing and
    keep us posted.


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