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Layer Your Novel: The Innovative Method for Plotting Your Scenes

(The Writer's Toolbox Series)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  116 ratings  ·  23 reviews

Layer your novel to success with this innovative, simple technique!

Writing a terrific novel is a complex endeavor. And while there are hundreds of books, podcasts, and blog posts that teach aspiring authors how to structure scenes and plot out a solid story, none implement the most intuitive and effective method for success.

What is that method?


Novels are made

Kindle Edition, 219 pages
Published September 15th 2017 by Ubiquitous Press
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Showing 1-30
4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  116 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Preethi Venugopala
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am a regular reader of Lakin's blog.
I loved the techniques explained in this book. It is surprisingly close to the method I use. Still, the charts , the examples and the layering styles, makes this book a keeper.
Belinda Missen
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Concise and Structured.

As an author, I'm always looking for ways to help my writing. After a particularly painful draft, I stumbled across this gem. It has helped me to work through my scenes, themes, pinch points, and twists in such a way that I feel comfortable tackling the next draft.
Jay Sprenkle
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Good for taking the next step

This isn't for the new author. It's for the newish one. You're starting to get your legs under you and want to go further. Clear and organized. Has examples if you're a learn by example person. Glad I bought it.
Sarahmarie Harwood
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-reads
Another C. S. Larkin Gem

This writing guide presents an innovative technique for structuring a novel that is brilliant. By drawing on a teaching point useful to early grade teachers, she shows how any novel is built from layers of scenes.

Take a large jar, fill it successively with rocks, pebbles , sand and water. Only then is it full.

A novel is built in the same way. The rocks represent the most important plot building and advancing scenes in a novel. The pebbles represent scenes that support pl
Isaac Butterworth
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing-craft
“Why I wrote this book,” C. S. Lakin says, is so that the reader can be “confident” she or he has “a solid framework figured out for [her or his] story” and “won’t have to suffer the worry and anxiety some of the biggest selling authors go through day after day.” How does the author give her reader such confidence? It is by describing what she labels an “innovative method” called layering. Reminding us that “novels are made up of scenes,” Lakin details a process that is very much like the jar-fi ...more
C. Smith
May 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Nothing New

If you thought, as I did, this would be a book about setting up a solid narrative arc, then layering on an emotionally devastating character arc, and polishing your manuscript by making your theme resonate, I’m sorry to disappoint. This book is more like finding out four of KFC’s seven secret herbs and spices are salt, pepper, flour and grease. That’s only useful info if you’ve never cooked chicken before. This book is only useful if you’ve never outlined or plotted before and you’ve
Timothy Bateson
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book made me rethink my book writing process

Lakin has produced a book that made me rethink my entire book writing process. Thanks to this book, I now have a way to help resolve problems I’ve been having with the plot of my current novel project.
I’ve been struggling with the plot for my first novel for years now, and this book came to my attention at just the right time. I was literally pulling my hair out at time as I wrestled with my subplots, and making sure they entered the story at the
Ann Thomas
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-writing
There are lots of books that take you through the basic structure of a novel, but once you have your Inciting Incident and your major crises etc they assume you can fill in the rest yourself. This book takes you the whole way. It starts with ten key scenes to provide a solid foundation for your novel's structure, then adds another ten, and another until the whole novel is laid out and none of the key elements are forgotten. If this sounds like overkill, it's not. There is plenty of room for you ...more
Carolyn Bowen
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Writing a novel is like building a house you need a solid foundation and strong framework. If you get these right other things will fall into place with your novel construction.

C.S. Lakin does an excellent job of showing how the body of scenes pieces together with layering to fit perfectly into the completed draft. This is a good book for improving your writing style. I expect to read more of her books about crafting a novel.

Layer Your Novel: The Innovative Method for Plotting Your Scenes
Carlie Hamilton
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, writing
Ok, so on some levels this is really obvious and straight forward. But this book also provides really practical advice on how to structure your novel with subplots and layers. I haven't seen a book like this before on this topic.

There was also lots of very helpful examples. I've read a heap of writing books and many give such boring examples of the point their making. This one was most helpful.

It's not rocket science but it was the first time I've thought consciously and purposely about how to
Shelley Stanaway
Sep 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
Nothing new was given about outlining that I hadn't learned in high school many years ago. I'm disappointed in the book.

Furthermore, she is arrogant. If you are not an outliner you will be insulted by her comments. At one point in the book, she said she had to force herself to finish reading books so she could present an outline for us to read. Well, that is exactly what I had to do with this book. I had hoped to learn at least one nugget of new information. I didn't.

Do I recommend this book? N
Watson Davis
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book wasn't what I thought it was going to be.

For what it is, it's fine. It shows an author how to structure their novel using 4 acts and some specific required scenes. If someone hasn't seen that approach, this book is a good place to learn it. There are a lot of other books about it, some that I consider better, some I consider worse.

She takes the extra step of "layering" in subplots, which is something I haven't seen a lot of, so there's that.
Mar 25, 2018 rated it liked it
The first half of this book taught me a lot. It was meticulously organized, and had very useful info on how to layer and structure novels.

The second half lost me. It took a more abstract approach, weaving in and out of case studies about specific books and genres. We never really got back on point, and I found myself thumbing through the final 40% without a clear, concise final summary.

I would still recommend checking this book out for some of the early ideas presented.
Erin Grey
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Unique approach to outlining

This approach makes a lot of sense and creates opportunities for rich subplots and twists. There are a lot of exercises and examples in the book (for me a bit too many, but if you struggle to grasp the theory then the examples will help). I've adopted the method for my current WIP and so far it's helping me fill out scenes and character arcs, and add those extra layers of interesting subplots.
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
There's some good information here about identifying the key scenes in your novel and planning outward from there. However, I found reading the scene lists of various novels the author summarizes daunting, and I found myself skimming through those sections. Recommended if you want to learn more about story structure and utilize that in planning the plot of your novel.
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Clear explanations and vivid examples! I’ve seen this formula in other books, so the extra value comes in the excellent examples and scene by scene discussions of several books. Must read and refer to before starting any book.

Dan Janal
Author of “Write Your Book in a Flash!”
Irene Allison
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-craft
Fantastically helpful for writers wanting to learn some of the key and very powerful techniques to deepen and enrich their novels. This book together with Lakin's books, "The 12 Pillars of Novel Construction" and "Writing the Heart of Your Story" provide Master Class teachings from an author who lives and breathes "story". Recommended for those interested in studying the craft.
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was very informative on how to properly build the framework of your story and then "fill in the pieces" to flesh out a well-written novel. It helped me to tighten up my WIP and revise it to create a more engaging story.
Deb Miller
Nov 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I've read several of her books on novel writing. This one good, but mostly a repeat of information I've already learned from her other books and blog.
Gary Anderson
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Useful in planning and outlining your next novel.
Karen Dustman
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
A helpful way to think about writing a novel.
Cassandra Yieng
Aug 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I wish there were diagrams to illustrate her process. I'm not sure about other readers, but I'm less attuned to her style of writing as well.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Liked it well enough. Good advice.
Elizabeth Penney
rated it really liked it
Nov 21, 2017
rated it really liked it
Mar 13, 2019
rated it it was amazing
May 08, 2018
NAK Baldron
rated it it was ok
Sep 20, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Dec 26, 2018
Neil M. Black
rated it really liked it
Sep 17, 2017
Melissa Alexander
rated it it was amazing
Feb 19, 2018
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