11 October 2012

Pre-Plot Using a Historical Novel Example

Begin pre-plotting with the 1st exercise in The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories.

By creating a character transformation and evolving all three major plotlines over the beginning, middle and end of the story, you're left with a bird's eye view of your story. Turns out this exercise is intense to some writers and daunting to others, so much so that a writer friend declared the workbook the Ph.D. program for writers. Not my intent, I assure you.

Rather than become overwhelmed by the complexity of the task, break the exercise down into its parts, beginning with the Character Transformation Statement.

Last night in book group, we discussed the debut historical novel: The Doctor and the Diva by Arienne McDonnell.

Plot, plot, plot, the story is all about plot, everyone exclaimed. I disagreed.

The book is masterful at keeping the suspense and curiosity high with clearly defined goals and ticking clocks. Scenes are tightly linked by cause and effect. Provocative themes explored. The historical details about all the different exotic locales and occupations were breath-taking and the author's prose lovely.

So, what's the problem?

Though the dramatic action plot stays true to the structure of the Universal story and the historical details are spot-on, the character emotional development plot is devoid of its most important element = no character transformation in the end. None. Not one character. All the characters are exactly the same at the end of the story as they started out in the beginning.

Don't let this problem befall your story.

Begin pre-plotting with the ultimate character transformation in mind. Start there. 

More Plot Tips: 
1) Plot your story step-by-step with the help of The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories 

2) Read
The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master

3) Watch the Monday Morning Plot Book Group Series on YouTube. Scroll down on the right of this post for a directory the book examples and plot elements discussed.

For additional tips and information about the Universal Story and plotting a novel, memoir or screenplay, visit:
Blockbuster Plots for Writers
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