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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Plotting Away

I am happy to report that I ran today.

Apparently hell is still frozen but Acton is 100 degrees! Ugh.

Anyway, I have been working hard on my writing career this week. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad because I have several loads of laundry washed, not dried or put away. I have dishes piling up and my kids were fed well for three days but then they had to keep eating it again (hey, if I make 6 pork chops and you only eat half of one we’re having it again tomorrow!), poor things.

I’m getting this post out then going to work… I think. Unless I get bit by the fiction bug, or the homework bug.

Tomorrow’s post is already written, scheduled and I’m excited. It’s about as close to my Doctoral thesis I’ve gotten. I’ve had the thoughts swimming around in my brain and I finally got it all down on paper (screen?). I spent most of the day on that. So tune in tomorrow and leave a comment (if you can) or post on my FB page! Or my SMQ page.

I have been thinking a lot about plotting. I get Twitter updates from The Script Lab. It’s all about screenwriting which I’m not really doing, but the information is good for all kinds of writing. One of the posts they do is a breakdown of movies by plot points. They call them the 5 Plot Point Breakdowns. They’re interesting.

Considering a movie to be in three acts, it starts with;

(1) Inciting incident: which would basically be the premise and the initial scene or what causes the story. Knowing where your story begins is crucial. I know I’ve struggled with this with some of my ideas. An example of this would be in the Wizard of Oz when Toto is taken and Dorothy tries to run away. She decides to return home and is caught up in a tornado.

(2) Lock-In: This occurs at the end of Act 1. This is basically the thing that makes you keep watching the movie.  For Dorothy it would be opening the door of her house to Oz.

(3) The First Culmination: Occurs at midpoint in the movie. This would be when Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Lion and the Tin Man arrive in the Emerald City. It appears they have reached their goal (but we know the story isn’t done yet).

(4) The Main Culmination: The End of Act 2. Our heroes have battled demons and purportedly finished their task by melting the Wicked Witch of the West.

(5) Third Act Twist: All of Dorothy’s friends get their wishes but when her hopes seem dashed a miracle occurs and she discovers she had the power to return home all along.

At I plan to take a plotting class and learn about Lani’s 7 Anchor scenes (or Lily-Pads if you’re a Pantser). I found this summary so it’s a place to start:

1. The Initiating Event / The Inciting Incident / Where The Trouble Begins

The event that brings the protagonist into the central story conflict. Again this is an important part of story-telling because the opening scene is so very important.

2. The First Turning Point / The Trouble Gets Worse
I feel like this is also Crossing The Threshold (if you’re familiar with the mythic structure Vogler talks about in The Writer’s Journey). It’s the point where the protagonist has to commit to dealing with whatever the trouble is, because the stakes have just increased, and Business As Usual isn’t going to cut it.

3. The Midpoint

At this point, the protagonists are defeated; they don’t yet possess the knowledge / abilities / head space necessary to defeat the Antagonist, and it seems clear that a Happily Ever After with the love of their life is a complete impossibility. 

4. The Point of No Return

This is the point when the character is so changed that s/he can no longer do things the way they used to be done; moving forward with new knowledge, they start to fight back against the antagonist in a new way, which is much more threatening to the antagonist, who hits even harder now. It keeps that momentum moving between the midpoint and the dark moment.

5. The Crisis / The Dark Moment / All Is Lost
At this point, the protagonists are defeated; they don’t yet possess the knowledge / abilities / head space necessary to defeat the Antagonist, and it seems clear that a Happily Ever After with the love of their life is a complete impossibility.

6. The Climax / The Final Push

Defeated though the protagonist is at the Crisis, they can’t give up. They are forced to finally integrate the abilities/ self-knowledge / growth they’ve been developing throughout the story, and because they do this, they have what they need to finally defeat the Antagonist.

7. The Resolution / The Happily Ever After / The New World
The protagonist’s world has changed for the better, and so have they. They’ve grown, and are more authentically themselves than they were at the beginning of the story.

I will have to compare the outlines I have with how these plotting ideas and see if I’m anywhere close. LOL

The other exciting thing I did this week was do some pitching to agents via Twitter. Basically I had to reduce my plot to 133 characters and add #pitmad to my Tweet.

Here they are if you missed them:

Penny gets accidentally engaged only to meet & fall in love with someone else over a series of ill-fated events. Lucky Penny, or not?#Pitmad
Spring break road trip with a jerk & his dog -just the beginning 10 years later still’s not love at first sight At least not for her #Pitmad
Caroline wins a trip to a Dude Ranch finds love, finds herself, solves a murder all while keeping her quirky sense of humor! #Pitmad

For comments or suggestions for this post please GO HERE!
Thank you!

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