Henry Sutton
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Structure and development
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Wildly different approaches to plotting and planning from many major crime-fiction authors, including Lee Child, Patricia Highsmith, Stephen King, Louise Doughty and James M. Cain, along with screenwriters such as John Yorke, are explored and analysed. Merits and pitfalls of the three-act structure are detailed. Henry Sutton’s own approach to structure, dependent on word count and dividing a novel into thirds or quarters is explored; also how he outlines and plans a novel. Timelines and the use of multiple narrative threads are examined. The counterpoints of instinct and control are analysed in relation to merit and diversion. Raymond Chandler’s adherence to sentence and scene over plot is addressed, along with the idea of turning corners joining two stories together. Red herrings, plot twists and other structural devices are explored and explained, with references. Positions on structure and development from American literary writers and critics Grace Paley and Eudora Welty are cited. Knowing when something has gone wrong and when to radically alter and cut a fiction is explained, with references. This chapter includes a short story by Henry Sutton: the result of radical editing and structural intervention.

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