I wrote three books before I realized I had no idea how to plot a novel. These are the three sources I wish I found earlier.

Brandon Sanderson, lecture 4

Brandon Sanderson teaches a writing class at BYU. Luckily, all of his lectures are on youtube. This lecture breaks down several types of plot structures: try-fail cycle, three act structure, scene/sequel etc.

Jim Butcher, Space City Con, 2013, part 1

part 2

Jim Butcher breaks down the scene/sequel structure of a story. If you’ve ever read one of his books, you know that there is constant action. He somehow manages to get his character in more and more trouble until you have no idea how Harry Dresden will ever get out of it!

Swain, Dwight V. (1981). Techniques of the Selling Writer. University of Oklahoma Press.

This is probably one of, if not, the best book out there on writing. It helps the writer learn to create conflict and write an engaging story all the way through. Many of the other books I’ve read are vague, or only have a series of short articles on writing. This is an excellent step by step guide. Highly, highly recommended.


As an aspiring author, I spent years reading books on writing and searching the internet for any bit of information I could find. I figured I would compile some of the best sources I found in a series of bog posts to help fellow aspiring authors. I write mainly fantasy, so I apologize beforehand, as many of the sources may be geared in that direction. I will try my best to incorporate sources from other genres as well.