Spy Novel Plots:
Spy thrillers are genre novels and so they have a contract with the reader to deliver a certain type of story that is within those genre boundaries. That limits the options to four archetypal spy novel plots:
The Mission The Mystery On The Run Playing Defence But whichever you want to write, they will all fit within the basic Spy Thriller Template.
This first template is set in Four Acts. It is more common the set up the story in Three Acts. Why Four? To give you more room to work with smaller beats. If you look at the four acts, you will see that there are five beats in each act. If you write one chapter per beat, your writing becomes much more paced and much less daunting. Suddenly you aren’t faced with 70,000 words to write, but 1 Beat, or just 2,500 words. I know I know – 20 chapters times 2,500 words is only 50,000, not 70,000. But by now adding another 10,000 words is a snap. Right? But – don’t just tag them on at the end of the story. You will certainly come to a chapter in your story that needs a lot more prose. So add another chapter. You only need to add another chapter to each act, and there are your 70,000 words. Make it 100,00 words… go on I dare you!
Now, let’s take a peek at the Three Act Story. Numbers-wise. I’ll put up the Template in the next post. But briefly – 50,000 words divided by three is … 16,667 words plus a comma or two per Act. If you want 2,500 words per chapter, that’s only 6.6 beats per act. You can do it. Easy as. Remember that just one beat per act can actually be broken into two beats – beat a. and beat b.
It will help to open the Template when you create a project, with the Cork Board showing with the Manuscript highlighted.
The Icon in Scrivener’s Template list, when you import it, will look like this.
Scrivener Template Now at Version 1.7.
Spy Thriller v3 Mac 1 file(s) 460.21 KB
Spy Thriller MAC
Spy Thriller (PC) 1 file(s) 150.08 KB