The One Hour A Day Novelist with Tom Schreck: Part 7

Tom Schreck presents part seven of his ongoing series on writing and being a working author. In addition to being the author of five books, he is has written for a wide variety of publications including The Business Review,, American Health and Fitness, Professional Counselor and Catfancy:

I was listening to Chris Grabenstein’s podcast about writing fiction. He said he didn’t outline, per se.

Instead, he looks for four “tent poles” throughout his novels. These tent poles are strategically based plot turns that come at the beginning, middle (with two) and end of a book.

In his podcast he mentioned that novels HAVE TO have a structure to them. That doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be formulaic. Chris mentions that it’s at the “bones” of the story that you can get creative. That’s where you can spin the plot, avoid cliches and give readers something to be surprised at.

Without the unexpected plot turn tent poles the readers do not get the surprises that bring them to fiction in the first place.

Whether or not you are an outliner or a first draft editor, keep in mind the tent poles the next time you set out to start a new work.

Are you creating conflict, surprising the reader and putting your creativity into a well structured piece of work?

If not, it’s time to start hammering in stakes for some well-supported tent poles.

Visit Chris Grabenstein’s site

Tom Schreck is the author of The Vegas Knockout, a recent number one hard boiled mystery on Amazon. His most recent release, Getting Dunn reached number seven. Visit