This is a pretty complicated post for me. I am going to start with my not-so-famous fill-in-the-blank form that creates a log line for your great book
I have added alpha marks (large letters) to notate where these events occur in the classic dramatic curve.
This is a beginning of your non-plotting plot outline. I mean, you have to have some idea of what you’re going to write, or you’ll never get 80,000 words done. However using this method you don’t have to have 53,000 thousand 3 by 5 cards strewn around your laundry room in order to start writing a book.
The behind the plotless plot is to establish major turning points in your story.
Of course there will be a flashback where the main character remembers her first kiss and her broken heart when she says goodbye on a windswept bluff.
You see, you write to the points. Meandering and side character arcs will occur. These may stay or get cut. The idea is to have these XXX points, like marks to hit. You also know how your book ends which may take a week to figure out.
Here’s the other great part about this idea. Nothing is real. Oh you aim at the marks, but if you realize that the book is taking you from London to the Midwest and back to Hawaii where the story started, then you can change your marks (keep your old versions, though)
I highly recommend having these few marks finished before starting. Otherwise you will encounter the “what happens next” syndrome.
Okay here goes. Comment on the idea. I can take it. Maybe it needs tweaking.
________________ (name) a _______year old _______________ (occupation) is feeling_____________ (beginning emotion). Then ___________________ (A)(trigger action) and as a result he____________________. (C) (First action) Then ____________ (name)
becomes _________________ (intense emotional state) and he ___________________ (E)(final action) which results in __________ (F) (final result) and discovers ____________. (G)( Revelation)
So, what you write along with a few other items I will discuss soon (like the antagonist, his henchmen and the main character’s sidekicks which are in all good stories is A,C,E,F,G. This is the basis of your story. It does not have locations or big issues. You just start going but you have to hit the marks. Of course this system is fraught with pitfalls, like he’s an airline pilot in 1850 but you will work these issues it out in your revisions, working with critique groups, and eventually the editor that you will hire because you will hire and editor, or you won’t get published by a real publisher.
(A)Kick start – this is 3 -10 pages The reader (agent/publisher) cannot put down. Then you return to the real beginning either through flashbacks or the kick start was a flashback. Starting at the start is often boring unless its really outstanding. Often the kick start is the trigger action.
(B)Some back story. You make it up later
(C) But then the an event, often a continuation of the kick start, sometimes not, spins the main character into a new direction
(D) The main character goes through hell, or more often called “a series of challenging situations” You make this up later too.
(E) After being thwarted by all sorts of stuff, the main character does the big act, usually relating to the theme which results in:
(F) A final consequence, again relating to the theme
(G) The tale ends, loose story lines are finished. Get ready to send to a story editor for comments and revisions.
(E) / \ (G)
↑_______↑ ↑___________↑ ↑__↑
Act I Act II Act III
beginning all sorts of final action
smaller conflicts & resolution
Okay, I have to admit I am not a graphic artist. But it is a very nice chart for me. Let me know what you think Saves a lot of money on little note cards and gets you into the writing mode (every day, same time, same place at least 15 minutes or 2 new pages a day). Whew I’m tired.