|Studying a Contract|
My main focus this time was help with plot because the sequel I am writing has me stuck in a few spots. How do I keep the emotion in events and the stakes high for the people of Ammon who are happy and righteous? The following tips are from a combination of plot classes.
1. Each character needs a goal. There should also be a scene goal and overall story goal. Once in a while a character can get what they want if it furthers the story, but most of the time you keep them from their goal with conflict and disasters.
2. Stephanie Black taught that scenes are real-time action with conflict, and sequels are the connectors between them. Take notice of the amount of each so that we are neither bored nor out of breath. Reader need short pauses where characters take time to think and decide. Then get moving again. Make things happen for a reason.
3. Jordan McCollum showed a scene chart spreadsheet to visually see such things as length, who the point of view character is, their goal, the source of tension or conflict, the setting, mode (set-up, response, attack, resolution), etc. Is there smoothness into the next scene or a hole? What does the story shape look like? This could be a helpful tool for me.
4. Rachelle Christensen spoke about the power of outlining, whether strict or loose. Start with knowing your beginning, middle, and end points. Make a timeline, draw a map, or write a scene list. Use beats, point systems or other plot methods you like. Fill in the holes by discovering why, what are your characters' motivations? Anything can be changed. Never put a scene in that you don't love.
5. In Kris Chandler's Emotional Pacing class, she described that the physical plot is separate from the emotional plot. If you overlapped the ups and downs of the two, they may correlate or separate but should come closely together with a punch at the end. The story of the Three Little Pigs is plot-strong. It would scare children if the emotional pacing matched it. Toned down with cute words (like chinney chin chin) and rhyme, the emotional plotline makes it bearable. Identify the primary emotion you want the reader to feel in each scene.
Now let's get writing!