27 January 2011

Three Key Scenes

There is the holy trinity in the Christian religion, the holy trinity as a culinary term in all sorts of cuisine and, I hope it is not sacrilege, the holy trinity in stories. Perhaps it's a bit wacky to use the term in plot... what can I say? 

The three cornerstone scenes in all novels, memoirs and screenplays are:
However, there is another trio that is my very favorite in the Universal Story because of the power these three scenes produce in stories and in our lives as writers and people.
I've been admonished for being a bit heavy-handed in these three videos. Please forgive me. My passion often overtakes me.

Click on green highlighted plot concepts for further explanations via video. Each time a concept is referenced you are directed to new information.

24 January 2011

Writing the Crisis

The Crisis of a story hits about 3/4 of the way through the page or scene count and marks the highest intensity scene in the entire beginning and middle of the story. On the plot planner, this highest point signifies the dramatic action plot though keep in mind it is the lowest point in the story for the character emotional development plot.

The crisis can be thought of as the climax for the antagonist.

I've got two new videos on the youtube Plot Series: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay. One talks about the scenes building up to the CRISIS and the next one discusses the CRISIS SCENE itself.

I am under a deadline for a new book that I have been patiently waiting to reveal while the negotiations for the contract are finalized. I am thrilled to be asked to write my passion and excited for the chance to tell you about it and am having a ball writing it but find that with that and everyone and their mother requesting plot consultations lately (which I feel honored about in that so many writers are willing to trust me to help them with their work), it is difficult to fit in everything daily. Therefore, I rely on the youtube series to lend you support in the interim until I again have time to write out an entire post.

Hope you will bear with me during this exciting time. This too shall pass and I will be back to writing posts, but until then, I hope you'll follow the series for support. I plan to include an index and brief description of each step here in the near future. We will see when that happens. Soon, very soon...

Great good luck with your writing goals for the year!

Click on green highlighted plot concepts for further explanations via video. Each time a concept is referenced you are directed to new information.

13 January 2011

More than One Draft

Do you understand that writing a novel, memoir, screenplay involves not just writing one draft but many?

Therefore, the quicker you write a draft the better. 

Each time you write a draft all the way through to the end you have a better sense of what the story is truly all about. 

Do NOT make every word perfect in the first draft, especially not the beginning one quarter of the project. Until you have written a couple, or more, drafts all the way to the end, you have no idea of what is needed in the beginning.

I've said it before and I think it's worth repeating again - the end defines the beginning. Therefore write all the way to the end .
Get your ego out of the way. The more you are able to tolerate imperfection, the more quickly you can finish a draft and every draft makes the story better. The perfection comes along with the process of writing draft after draft. 

If it takes you years to write a draft, think how long it's going to take to get your manuscript ready to submit. If it takes you months to write a draft, it's going to happen more quickly. 

Click on green highlighted plot concepts for further explanations via video. Each time a concept is referenced you are directed to new information.

10 January 2011

Recommitment Scene

Another example of what I call the "magic of writing."  I just love it when this happens!

In going over scenes with a writer, I ask for the 1/2 way mark / recommitment scene and lo and behold, the scene she tells me about fits the recommitment parameters perfects. She did not consciously write it that way but she also did not get in the way of letting it come naturally. 

I find the less our egos interfere and the more clearly and cleanly we can act as a conduit for the muse, the more "magic" like this occurs.

Brings about a pleasing read for a reader and movie for an audience when these natural moments are let to shine.

Click on green highlighted plot concept(s) for further explanations via video. Each time a concept is referenced you are directed to new information.

06 January 2011

Speaking of Climax

A recent plot consultation reflects confusion many writers have about the Climax of their stories.

In telling me the end (1/4) of her story, the writer describes her climax  which is the perfect and unexpected (twist) end for the dramatic action plot. Problems arise as another seven to nine major scenes and chapters follow what the writer had labeled as the climax to her story. 

The climax brings the energy of the overall story to a head and once it is over, the story is over, too. One chapter or scene follows the climax to bring the story to resolution but no more than that. When the energy is over, the story is over. To take the story further, though most readers never want a story they love to end, even the most loyal reader loses her enthusiasm as the story drags on and energy peters out.

However, in the consultation, it quickly becomes evident that the energy of the story does not lessen but does, in fact, grow. And, of the scenes that follow what she calls her climax, the second to the last chapter is the true climax -- this one being the character emotional development climax.

Yes, in most stories, both the dramatic action plot and character emotional development plot usually coalesce at the end for more punch and impact though, in this case, the character emotional development plot climax carries tremendous energy and excitement and shows the character at her most transformed and doing something she was unable to do anywhere else in the story. She needed to experience every other scene in order to die to who she has always been and rise up out of the ashes. 

Her story begins with the character emotional development plot and it is fitting and right that the crowning glory of the story revolve around the character emotional development plot. 

I have said it before:

Beginning hook readers.
Ending creates fans.

Watch how and where you end your story in order to keep your fans happy and satisfied and eager for your next release.

Click on green highlighted plot concepts for further explanations via video. Each time a concept is referenced you are directed to new information.

03 January 2011

Reaching Your Climax

Please, please, please writers, be careful what you say to yourself. Stifle the urge to beat yourself up for not being perfect. 

Unplug from all the negative self-talk and plug into affirmations. Make a list of them -- all the great things about you as a writer and if you don't believe you deserve greatness, change your belief system. You made up the story you tell yourself now. You can revise that story anyway you want. You're the author of your own life, your own story.

All that happens by trash talking yourself or your writing and being filled with doubt and insecurity is that you lose energy and thus stop writing.

What good is that?!

Please. Be gentle with yourself. Believe you have been chosen to write your story for a purpose. The muse believes  in you. It's your job to begin believing in yourself!

02 January 2011

Happy 2011

Thanks to each of you who followed along on the 3rd Annual International Plot Writing Month also known as PostNaNoPlotPerfection aka PlotWriMo for writers intent on crafting a story that is pleasing to the reader and perhaps on finding a bit of enlightenment along the way.

My hope is from following along all last month, you now have a new sense of your story and are energized to undertake a major rewrite, starting... today!

Good luck to you.

I continue into the New Year with the YouTube Plot Series: How Do I Plot A Novel, Memoir, Screenplay series, adding a new video with yet another element of creating a story every week. I address plot issues I see crop up in plot consultations I do with writers around the world. Hope to see you there.

We're running a contest, in conjunction with the plot series. For information on how to win a free overnight at an amazing bed and breakfast in Santa Cruz or a free plot consultation, go to Santa Cruz Traveling Mystery Tour.

Here's to success with all the writing goals you've set for yourself this year.