Deconstructing a Novel (& Patricia Briggs Giveaway!)

First, the housekeeping. Lots of congratulations this morning! To STELLA for winning the ARC of Paula Brackston’s The Witch’s Daughter; to LYNNRUSH for winning the ARC of Bree Despain’s The Dark Divine; to LISA R and MARIAN L for winning copies of Terry Spear’s  Wolf Fever.

Read on for more about today’s giveaway!

I’ve been reading James Scott Bell’s amazing book Revision & Self-Editing…how have I missed this till now?! Anyway, one of the techniques he recommends for authors (who are all also avid readers or we wouldn’t be in this crazy business) is to take a favorite novel and deconstruct it. 

The technique he recommends is to take a pack of note cards and go through the novel carefully.  At the end of each scene fill out a card with a) the number of the scene–scene one would be card one, etc.; b) where the scene occurred–the setting; c) what the scene is about; d) what makes you want to read on. I might add a category e) how it advances the story. It should tell you a lot about what makes the story move. Since I struggle with pacing, I think this is a good technique for me to try.

The great Savvy Authors website ( — and if you’re a writer you should at least get the free membership) offers a series of workshops on deconstructing novels and movies. I’ve wanted to take one but am afraid I won’t be able to keep up because of my insane schedule. So I’m about to start the process at my own pace, using one of my own favorite novels that I’ve been wanting to re-read: Patricia Briggs’ Moon Called, the first in the Mercy Thompson series.

If you haven’t read this great urban fantasy series, shame on  you! Now, here’s your chance. I’ll give away a copy of Moon Called to one commenter (open internationally). You know the routine: up to four entries per person (and make sure I have  your email) +1 comment, +1 blog follow, +1 twitter follow, +1 tweet or retweet. [Already have Moon Called? If so, I’ll send you Patricia Briggs’ first Alpha and Omega novel, Cry Wolf. Tell me which one you want!)

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

21 thoughts on “Deconstructing a Novel (& Patricia Briggs Giveaway!)

  1. I think that the deconstruction thing is a great idea, especially the part about making note of the purpose of the scene. I’m kind of going back and forth with that in my current WIP(s).

    When I’m not reading about Mer People in the book I won last week (did I say thanks?)

  2. I have yet to try this series but everyone seems to love it. Also, thanks for the writer information, am going to visit the website you mentioned and I like the idea of deconstructing books. Thanks for the contest too 🙂


    I follow the blog and you on twitter.

  3. I could have sworn I commented earlier though I don’t see it now, but I would love to win a copy of Moon Called, especially since you say it’s one of your favorite series!
    +1 comment
    +1 blog follow
    +1 twitter follow

  4. Interesting concept. I think I may give this a try over the holidays and into Jan. Thanks for the tip.

    I had a copy of Moon Called as it is my fave series ever but I loaned it out and doubt I’ll ever get it back so another copy would be awesome.

    I’m also blog follower, twitter follower and I retweeted.

  5. Good luck with your deconstruction. I’m actually doing one of the deconstruction weeks at Savvy Authors in February, so working on deconstructing Iron Man 2 right now…since I have to have it all done by then :).

    I’d love a copy of Moon Called. I just picked up Cry Wolf on a recommendation.

  6. Oh wow! That cover ROCKS!!! Love that TAT! Thanks for drawing my name. I’m stoked. You don’t have to enter me in this one, cuz I just won, but I wanted to say HI and thanks, and OH I LOVE THAT COVER…oh wait, I already said that. . .

    Okay, thanks again!

  7. I absolutely love this series but I haven’t read this one in a long time. I’d love, love, love to own it so I can re-read it!



  8. Hi Suzanne 🙂
    Interesting post. Thank you for the Savvy Authors link. I already have Moon Called but I don’t have Cry Wolf yet.
    All the best,
    PS – Thank you for the opportunity to win!

  9. I haven’t read any of the seris as yet. Their are just too many good series being printed at the moment !

    Please enter me in the giveaway.


    Carol T

    +1 for comment
    +1 I follow via GFC.

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com