Tag: novel writing

Narrative Techniques Series: #13 Frame Story and Framing Device

Narrative Techniques Series: #13 Frame Story and Framing Device

In this new article dedicated to Narrative Techniques Series, we address Frame Story and Framing Device Narrative Techniques. They are different from each other and somehow intertwined.

It is not a simple link between the various events told in a story. A “frame” encloses the facts and stories of the narrative.

What are the Narrative Techniques of Frame Story and Framing Device?

Frame Story is a story that takes place in a novel, or in a movie. It is narrated by the main character, the writer itself as a narrating voice, or a support one. Usually, it starts with one character who tells a story to others. It can also start writing it down and then the narration begins.

We can also this Narrative Technique “frame narration”.

On the contrary, Framing Device includes a single action, scene, event, setting, or any element of significance at the beginning and end of a narration. The use of this technique allows frame stories to exist.

Sometimes, the Framing Device is not used for any particular purpose. It is useful to create a context and give more relevance to the frame around the narrative. This ensures that the reader appreciates the story more.

The difference between the Frame Story and the Framing Device

To better explain what the difference between the Frame Story and the Framing Device consists of, we take a famous example like the “Decameron” of Boccaccio.

This novel includes a hundred novellas inserted in the novel as a Frame Story. It is a sort of super-story that narrates the story of a “brigade” of ten young men who, having met in the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence during the plague of 1348, decide to leave together for a villa in the nearby countryside.

Here they can recuperate for fifteen days from the mourning caused by the epidemic by leading a secluded life, dedicated to various occupations and amusements.

To pass the time during the day, they decided to take turns in telling each other those one hundred novellas. Later re-told in the book called Decameron.

This Frame Story is, however, then framed by a further space in which the author takes the floor directly to express his opinions about the work. This space is therefore not intended for narration, but rather for argumentation: this can be considered “outside the narration.”

“Since the beginning of the world men have been and will be, until the end thereof, bandied about by various shifts of fortune”

Giovanni Boccaccio

Examples of Frame Story and Framing Device in movies

In Christopher Nolan’s movie “Inception“, the main character Leonardo DiCaprio enters a dream of Mr. Murphy to add an idea to his subconscious. To achieve that, Cobb performed by DiCaprio, puts Mr. Murphy to sleep in his dream, creating a second layer of the dream.

These two Narrative Techniques allow creating different narrative levels.

The same thing happens in “Titanic“. Here, Rose, at her elderly age, starts to tell the story and the tragedy of the Titanic. The public finds themselves directly catapulted into the narrative that begins in 1912 and traces the days of Rose on the transatlantic. At the end of the narrative, the image returns to Rose, elderly, ending the story.

Write your story with bibisco’s novel planning software

Not even the most experienced writers find it easy while writing a novel. There are many aspects to pay attention to, and there are just as many techniques, as we’ve seen in this Narrative Techniques Series.

Thanks to bibisco and its innovative novel planning software you will be able to rearrange all the elements necessary to create the story you have in mind without neglecting the most important aspect: intriguing and attracting your reader.

Narrative Techniques Series #13: Frame Story and Framing Device- bibisco's architecture section - bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s architecture section


In the landscape of narrative techniques, there are some that are better known and some that are less so. Some that you have even read or seen before but never paid attention to.

This could be the case with the Frame Story and Framing Device: we talked about it in this Narrative Techniques Series article. They are two expedients widely used but not so known on a technical level. However, they are very useful to use to make the narrative stand out from the others.

Dean Koontz’s Classic Story Structure

Dean Koontz’s Classic Story Structure

Let’s move in our journey of Story Structure Series writing about Dean Koontz’s Classic Story Structure.

In the previous article, we learn about Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method whereas the Dean Koontz’s method is simpler.

It equally takes its cue from the base of the story, elaborated however differently, through three main steps.

What is the Dean Koontz’s Classic Story Structure?

Dean Koontz is an American writer, known for novels that can be roughly described as suspense thrillers. Frequently in the story, he incorporates elements of horror, science fiction, mystery and satire.

The three steps of Dean Koontz’s Classic Story Structure

This method is composed of three different parts. It is simple and can be applied to every kind of narration.

  1. Write about your characters, their attitude and get the reader to get attached to this character. After that, make the characters encounter some difficulties as soon as possible. Only in this way will the reader begin to take an interest in the events of the characters and to fear for their lives.
  2. Don’t make life easy for your character but, on the contrary, try to complicate it with other difficulties and plot twists. In some cases, you may feel that your characters’ actions make the situation and events worse. The situation seems almost hopeless to the reader.
  3. It is important to show how much your character has learned during the narration. In the end, it’s nice to show that he can pull himself out of any difficulty precisely because of the lessons he’s learned.

Goals of Dean Koontz method

In addition to these steps, Dean Koontz identified the goals to keep in mind for every novel.

Firstly, you have to think that the aim of your story is to immediately grip the reader. Secondly, you have to introduce the main character that you will put in trouble in the next step.

It is important to let the reader know right away that the narrative will be full of twists and turns, suspense, timed by events at a very high pace.

Finally, create a strong sense of reality. Do not fantasize too much, otherwise, the reader may risk losing interest because the events are too absurd and distant from reality.

“Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion, and empathy.”

Dean Koontz

An innovative novel planning software to create your story

As just seen, you have to be very careful about what elements to consider when writing the story. It is good to properly dose the narrative techniques, elements and also to know how to give the right prominence to the characters in the novel.

For this, bibisco can be of help to you. Thanks to its innovative novel planning software, you can balance all the right elements and create characters that will be loved by your readers.

Dean Koontz’s Classic Story Structure - bibisco's characters' section - bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s characters’ section


The second method we wrote inthis Story Structure Series is Dean Koontz’s Classic Story Structure, a simpler technique to learn how to structure a novel.

This is composed of three easy steps which you can apply to every kind of narration. Don’t lose other articles of this Story Structure Series!

Narrative Techniques Series: #12 Cliffhanger

Narrative Techniques Series: #12 Cliffhanger

Do you know how when you’re reading a book, the chapter ends with such a suspenseful ending that you can’t stop reading? The same thing happens in cinema, in some movies, and especially in some TV series.

In this article of our Narrative Techniques Series, we’re learning something new about the Cliffhanger technique.

What is the Narrative Technique of Cliffhanger?

The Narrative Technique of Cliffhanger is usually used at the end of a chapter, or of an episode in the case of a TV series.

Its goal is to create a plot twist or to interrupt the action, so the scene can be carried on in the next chapter.

But what is the real objective of interrupting a scene? It is to stop the narration at the highest point of tension and then to end the chapter or the scene. This creates a lot of expectation and forces the reader to keep on reading the story.

The apex of a story is also called in jargon “climax” and it corresponds with the peak of the scene. The Narrative Technique of Cliffhanger leads the reader from a starting point to this particular moment.

This is a crescendo of feelings.

How to use the Cliffhanger

To have the desired effect of this technique, you must know how to use it wisely and carefully.

The intent is not to torture the reader with lots of information and too many twists and turns. If you insert cliffhangers that lead to disconnected climaxes that don’t change the story, it does no good. On the contrary, the consequences of these twists and turns should always be tangible and easily understood.

Some examples of Cliffhanger technique

You can realize the Cliffhanger Technique in different ways.

For example, with jumps in setting or timing. This creates movement in the narrative.

Alternatively, by creating danger or conflict between the protagonists or with other characters. Even a trap, a chase, the death of one of the protagonists, a threat are all good examples of using this narrative technique.

Finally, the cliffhanger can be created by playing with the protagonist’s feelings. You can tell about how his attitude changes, how his ideals change, an inner conflict.

In the cinema, think about “Harry Potter and the deathly hallows-part I“. This already makes the viewer think there will be a part II, which they will look forward to.

In literature, however, we have the example of Cliffhanger in the “Tales of The Thousand and One Nights“. Here, each story told by Sherazade to King Shahryār ends with a narrative suspension to save herself from execution.

Each book will have a lot of cliffhangers, because I like that.

Kevin J. Anderson

Use bibisco and its innovative novel planning software to create your Cliffhanger

With bibisconovel planning software, you can easily understand how to structure your story.

You have the possibility to think about the highest moment of tension in your story, the climax one, and to lead the reader up to this point. You have just to use the Cliffhanger technique seen in this episode of the Narrative Techniques Series.

Narrative Techniques Series #13: Cliffhanger - bibisco's project explorer - bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s project explorer


Creating twists and turns in the story doesn’t seem to be a difficult task. Instead, it must be done with some care to avoid the cliffhanger technique, the one that leads the reader or viewer to the climax, that is, the maximum point of tension, leading to confusion and disorientation.

The cliffhanger must lead to a major change in the story and get the reader so involved that they continues reading in one breath.

Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method

Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method

To structure a novel is not a simple thing. Besides the narration, you have to choose different elements. For instance, which narrative techniques to use, how to create dialogues and others.

In this first part of our Story Structure Series, you can learn how to structure a novel with Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method.

Everything starts with a basic story structure in which you defined a beginning, a middle and an end. But there are also different story structures you can consider structuring your novel which we will see in next articles of this Story Structure Series.

Let’s start with Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method.

What is the Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method?

Are you curious about how to structure a novel with Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method?

Randy Ingermanson is a theoretical physicist, and he is also an award-winning author of six novels. He invented “The Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method” composed of 10 steps.

The aim of his method is to start from a central idea. Then, develop your narration around this starting point, by adding different concepts, techniques and details.

The 10 steps of the Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method

In other words, imagine that these 10 different steps are like little snowflakes. Through them, you can create your very final result as a big ball of snow, your narration. Every step has approximately a duration, that you can use just for reference like a guideline.

  1. Start by writing a single sentence in which you summarize your novel. (The duration of this step is about 1 hour)
  2. Furthermore, expand the sentence you create in the step above. Then, create a complete summary and giving more details about the most important events (this took 1 hour)
  3. Concentrate on each character. Write a page in which you resume the behaviour, characteristics, attitude and other details about your characters. (It took about 1 hour for each one)
  4. Each sentence you wrote has to be expanded into a paragraph summary, as you have done in point #2. (Several hours)
  5. After that, put yourself in the shoes of your character. Write about one page about the story, from the eyes of them (1-2 days)
  6. As you have done in point #4, detail each paragraph you create. After that, create a full-page synopsis (this is the longest part of the Method: it took about a week)
  7. This is the moment to create a character chart to give more details. Write a full description of your character (about 1 week)
  8. Take advantage of point #6 and make a list of every scene you need to complete your narration
  9. For each scene, write a whole paragraph with a complete description
  10. Now is the time to write your draft, which you can revise at the end

“You need three major resources to have a successful writing career: time, writing space, and money.”

Randy Ingermanson

The innovative novel planning software of bibisco to create a novel

To sum up, if you are searching for one method to create your novel and avoiding losing details, you can get inspiration from this Story Structure Series. Likewise, you can test the novel planning software of bibisco.

This is a very useful tool that you can use to list the main points and characters of your novel and to put your ideas into words.

Take a look at the example below where you can define Premise, Fabula, Setting and Narrative strands of your novel.

Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method- bibisco's characters' section - bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s architecture of the novel section


Every writer has a method to write the novel. This is the Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method.

In conclusion, in this Story Structure Series, we keep analyzing some of these methods from which you can start to create your narration, full of details, of interesting dialogues, which will take your reader’s breath away.

Narrative Techniques Series: #11 Ticking Time Bomb

Narrative Techniques Series: #11 Ticking Time Bomb

Ten, nine, eight… and your heart begin to accelerate.

This is the eleventh of our Narrative Techniques Series: the Ticking Time Bomb scenario. The Ticking Time Bomb scenario and the countdown coincide, and they have the same result. The reader is really involved, and it is not possible to stop the reading in this situation.

What is the Narrative Technique of the Ticking time bomb scenario?

One of the most important supporters of the flow of time was Aristotle. He was really aware of the power of time. He deeply studied the structure of narration. And he noticed that stories with a very short time were more impressive than others.

For instance, Sophocles in his play “Oedipus Rex” decided to compress the time to put some pressure on the character of the narration.

The Ticking Time Bomb scenario is that, a sort of countdown which has a profound meaning to the character and which can raise a condition of apprehension both in characters and readers.

The Narrative Technique of Ticking time bomb scenario: how to use it?

Not every Ticking Time Bomb scenario needs to involve a real clock or a bomb. There are several objects that a writer can use just to put pressure and to describe the fast passing of time.

Think about a car running out of gas. This simple situation does not represent a real countdown, but it is clear to everyone that this is a point of no return.

In the same way, the Ticking Time Bomb scenario does not always interest an object, but just a situation. When a character’s life is in danger, this could be an example of the Ticking Time Bomb scenario without any objects.

Let’s take the example of the film “Titanic“. When we see Jack and Rose in the water, we know that they are in danger and that they are risking their lives because of the frozen water of the Ocean.

Another great film using this Technique is “In Time“. In this world, people use their time as a form of barter instead of money. But when they run out of time, their life also ends.

What is the role of the Narrative Technique of Ticking Time Bomb scenario?

The main purpose of this technique is to surprise the reader. This involves a situation where the character does not know what will happen, and he has to find out a solution soon.

Readers have no certainty that everything will work out, and they follow the events of characters with interest, curiosity and some concern.

This technique has to do, in a broader way, with the feeling of the unknown and of something that we cannot immediately control. The protagonist must then find, in a few moments, the solution.

Meanwhile, the reader follows with extreme interest and involvement the logic of the character who finds himself thinking in a short time and acting.

The death clock is ticking slowly in our breast, and each drop of blood measures its time, and our life is a lingering fever.

George Buchner

bibisco and the use of the Narrative Techniques

When you create a narration, there are many techniques you can mix and use. But you have also to pay attention to overdo it, not to confuse your reader.

bibisco and its innovative novel writing and novel planning software can help you to establish how many narrative techniques you can use in your narration and also how to mix them.

Narrative Techniques Series #11: Time Ticking Bomb scenario- bibisco's Objects Analysis - bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s Objects Analysis


The Ticking Time Bomb scenario is one of the most powerful narrative technique to put pressure on a character and that involve the reader the most.

It does not necessarily have to do with the ticking of a bomb, a clock, or a countdown. It can be realized in many ways and bibisco will help you in this hard task.

Did you miss the insights into other narrative techniques? Go back to our Narrative Techniques Series to catch up on your reading and enrich your writing with techniques such as theTicking Time Bomb!

Narrative Techniques Series: #9 Plot twist

Narrative Techniques Series: #9 Plot twist

Do you know that moment when the plot of a book or a film keeps you in suspense? That is the plot twist, described in this ninth episode of the narrative techniquesseries.

The plot twist is the moment when something happens that you didn’t expect in any way.

The writer can often use plot twist in crime novels, but even in another type of narration to reveal to the reader a situation, or a truth, in an entirely new and surprising way.

What is the Narrative Technique of the Plot twist?

Plot twists are unexpected and sudden turns in the narration. It diverts the plot from its trajectory, giving new insights into events or characters, or overturns the perspective.

Their purpose is to surprise, increase tension and revive interest in the story. This narrative technique helps the writer to catch the reader’s attention and leads him to continue reading in one go.

Moreover, it must surprise the reader and make them ‘jump on the chair’ with an unexpected and unpredictable event. Therefore, to create a suitably strong one, it is necessary to keep important information hidden from the reader which we will then reveal in a single moment. The more unexpected the event is, the more the writer has been clever in hiding it from the reader, the better the desired twist will succeed.

The narrative technique of “Chekhov’s gun could be a very useful element to use in the narration to introduce something that foreshadows what will happen in the future.

For instance, think about Agatha Christie stories. During all their length, she misleads readers with erroneous suspicions, hiding the really useful clues with many details which have the sole purpose of confusing them.

What is the difference between suspense and the Plot twist?

As we have already said, a Plot twist is a narrative technique that leaves the reader breathless.

On the contrary, the suspense arises when the reader has all the useful information within a scene, greater even than that possessed by the characters themselves.

Often, the writer gives the reader even more information than the characters themselves have.

Plot twist and twist ending

The plot twist can have two different meanings.

It can be placed in strategic positions, allowing the writer to control the pace of the narrative and adapt it to the readers’ expectations.

If it is placed at the end of the story, it is called a twist ending.

It all depends on the result you want to have in your story.

The impossible could not have happened, and therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.”

-Murder on the Orient Express (Agatha Christie)-

The innovative writing software of bibisco to use the narrative technique of the Plot twist

Plot twist or twist ending? How many details to give to the reader and what kind of plot twist to create?

There are many questions to answer before introducing this narrative technique in your narration.

Fortunately, the novel writing software of bibisco can help in this difficult task.

bibisco will lead you to rearrange your ideas and create the plot twist that best suits your story.

Narrative Techniques Series: Plot twist - bibisco's chapter section - bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s chapter section


Whether you are writing a crime novel or not, you can use the narrative technique of plot twist to create more interest in your story, asnarrative techniquesseries. Your reader will be so captivated by the plot that they will not be able to close the book without finishing it.

There are many ways to realize a plot twist, and we will widely speak of them in the next articles of this Narrative Techniques Series.