27 June 2009

Pacing Your Plot

The energy of a story rises and falls in a somewhat predictable nature based on the Universal Story Form Consider, therefore, the placement of your scenes that carry the highest emotional impact. 

The scenes in the Beginning (1/4) have less conflict, tension, and suspense than do the scenes that come in the End (final 1/4). Think of story as energy rising ever higher to each of the major turning points (End of the Beginning scene, Halfway point scene, Crisis, Climax) and often falling after each of those turning points only to rise again to the next major scene.

A writer places a high emotional impact scene in the Beginning which her critique group criticizes as not working where it is. In reaction to the feedback, the writer cuts the scene all together. However, when that same scene is moved to after the Crisis and on the ascent to the Climax, the scene works wonderfully on a multitude of levels. The scene centers around a natural disaster that turns out to be the perfect metaphor for the swirling emotions the protagonist feels after confronted with the dark night of the soul scene at the Crisis. 

During the consultation, I was again struck by how it's all always right there in front of us and how it's up to us as writers to take the scenes that come through the miraculous thing called the muse or inspiration and reorder them to craft the perfect story.