Sunday, 28 October 2007

It's that time again

Well, since I'm at the start of a new book - and procrastinating wildly - I've hauled my plot board out from behind my desk again. As always, I've had different Idea of how I'm going to lay it out this time. But I'm not sure the actual look of the thing makes a blind bit of difference as I've decided that it's not how the finished article that is important, but the process I go through, ordering my thoughts about the story and getting the key plot points and themes in my head.

Since I've been reading "Story" by Robert McKee and listening to sessions from this year's RWA conference by script-consultant Michael Hauge, I've decided to do something a little more sophisticated (and flexible) than my normal method of pinning on 20 cards with the major plot points of the story. This book, my plot board is all about story structure.

I've clocked up a fair number of "How to.." books on writing in the last few years and, while they all have different terms for the necessary building blocks for a story, there are certain key elements that pop up again and again and I thought I would blog about these as I finish honing the shape of Louise and Ben's story.

I've decided to use Michael Hauge's method of six phases of the story, with 5 turning points (TPs) as transistions from one to the next. Not as many things to remember as Vogler's Hero's Journey and a little more detail than the classic three-act structure.

The whole thing divides up as follows:

  • Set-up (ending with TP1 - Opportunity)
  • New Situation (ending with TP2 - Change of Plans)
  • Progress (ending with TP3 - Point of No Return)
  • Complications and Higher Stakes (ending with TP4 - Major Set-back)
  • Final push (ending with TP5 - Climax)
  • Aftermath


India said...

(whimpers quietly)

No... please... I'm still struggling to master the old plot board.

(Think I might need to watch James Franco on youtube until the panic goes away...)

Mel said...

Wow, Fiona. My corkboard usually doesn't look like that until I'm done. Until then I usually have what I've already written(since it's fresh in my mind) character insights and where I wanted to go next. I only plan the next step and see where it takes me.

I guess my question is what surprises you when you actually start to write the story? What you planned isn't always what happens. So surprises?

Donna Alward said...

I like to keep it as simple as I can. I like the 5 part structure, actually.

Though I'm becoming more of a pantser the more I go along. LOL

liz fenwick said...

Interesting.....I don't think I can be that organized but we'll see on the this next book as I have spent more time actually thinking about it....