As a writer, I rely on a lot of resources to keep my mind sharp and my writing game strong. I love reading about the deconstruction of stories, what makes characters tick, and the other habits of writers – which is a big reason I started my interview series for the blog.
Today’s interviewee has one of the coolest, most well put together website I’ve ever seen. Her ideas are awesome, and her Master Outline is something amazing to behold.
Welcome, Christine! Sell yourself to us in a paragraph.
Christine Frazier deconstructs bestselling novels, one doodle at a time. She shares her research at BetterNovelProject.com.
Who do you write for?
I originally started deconstructing bestselling novels just for myself, to help me write my own novel. I kept hearing that I needed a “platform” to get my novel into the world. I figured that other writers might be interested in my research, so I started posting it online. My target audience is anyone looking to learn about story structure, especially genre writers.
You’ve based your Master Outline on the first books in the Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games series. Why did you choose those three books?
I chose these three books because they are all widely-read, so I thought they would help me get to my goal. I figured that to have such wide appeal, these books must have some universal thread running through them. I hadn’t read any of them before starting my blog.
Plus, because all three books were made into movies, many people are familiar with the stories even if they have not read the books. This allows me to reach a broader audience of writers who can “drop in” on my research and still get the gist of what’s going on.
Have you considered another Master Outline in which you use different books?
Yes, I have considered exploring a new genre. I also get a lot of requests to do the next books in the same series of novels. The hardest part for me about moving on to a new set of books is declaring the first outline “finished.” It always feels like there is more work to do.
What prompted you to start the Better Novel Project?
I got the idea for Better Novel Project when I finally set out (after years of procrastination) to write a book. I realized very quickly that even with a “big picture” idea of what I wanted my story to be, I had no idea how to achieve that.
I thought the best way would be to break up my story into small pieces, so that I could give myself weekly writing assignments. But again I hit trouble—what were those small pieces? At that moment the project was born: I decided to break down bestselling novels into smaller pieces so that I could see how their structure worked. I wanted to find similarities among several bestselling novels so that I could be sure it was a tried-and-true method of storytelling that resonates with readers.
Do you write (or do you plan to write) fiction?
Yes, I am working on a fiction novel now.
Tell us about your available #AmWriting & Better Novel Project gear.
I sell typewriter stickers, #amwriting stickers in black, white, and rainbow, and #amwriting notepads. The proceeds help me with the expenses of running a blog.
What is The Royal Hamster, and what is your role in it?
One of my guilty pleasures is following the fashion and charity work of the Duchess of Cambridge, aka Kate Middleton. When I heard that Kate had a pet hamster, I created the twitter account @theroyalhamster. I imagined that the hamster is also obsessed with royal fashion, and I illustrate the hamster’s “daydreams.” Whenever Kate appears at event, the hamster daydreams about wearing the same outfit.
The Royal Hamster was something I started doing just for fun as a break from writing. I’ve been surprised and delighted by the interest– The Royal Hamster has been in People Magazine, The Huffington Post, and Hello Magazine, among others.
If you weren’t doing the Better Novel Project, what would you use your time for?
I’d probably get more writing done on my actual novel!
Tell us about your writing hideout.
I have a very basic ikea table that I use as a desk and balance ball chair. A third of the desk is taken up by a cat pillow, to keep the cat off the keyboard. People laugh when they come in my apartment because I have it set up backwards. The main area is an open kitchen / living area, and I keep my desk in the very center of the living area since it is where I spend all my time. The couch and TV are tucked away in what should be the “office” space.