In case you haven’t heard, Kristal’s started an awesome 1k a day challenge. This challenge got me thinking about a bunch of stuff (like how I’m procrastinating… a lot… please don’t tell my crit partners…). But mainly, it made me ponder something I’ve recently become a fan of.
I know, I know—a 1k a day challenge is no place for pre-plotting. BUT I’m not here to tell you to map out everything beforehand. I’m here to share some uh-may-zing tips on what to keep in mind while you’re writing.
Confession: Heidi Willis is a genius. She blogged about what a novel’s plot should consist of, but in a way that even I understood it (yep, I’m sort of slow with the technical stuff…). Since it was such a great post, I decided to share it with all you pretty people.
Here’s how Heidi breaks down plot:
3 Act Method
Act I (25%) Set up characters, motivations, backstory. At the end of this section, a dramatic event propels the main character into conflict
Act II (50%) In the middle of this, the MC discovers a secret, by the end is the start of big confrontations with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Conflict rises steeply.
Act III (25%) Obstacles are overcome, MC must make choices
Stage 1 (10%) draw reader in, identification with hero
Turning Point (10%) new opportunity, new journey often followed by MC refusing to take the journey or by into the opportunity
Stage 2 (15%) hero reacts, formulates plan
Stage 3 (25%) hero is overcoming obstacles
***Turning Point (at the 50% mark) hero must commit, there is no turning back
Stage 4 (25%) goal is more visible, stakes are higher
***Turning Point (at 75% mark) Major setback, a do or die moment
Stage 5: (15%) Final push; conflict becomes overwhelming, MC must give everything; accellerated pace; MC determines his or her own fate.
Stage 6: Aftermath, what life are they living now
When Heidi plots, she uses 300 pages as her guideline. Thus the above percentages would be:
p 1 - 30
p 30 - 60
p 60 - 105
p 105 - 180 (turning point at p 150)
p 180 - 255 (turning point at p 225)
p 255 - 300
I don’t know about you, but I feel all smart after reading that :)
Here’s the link to Heidi’s amazing blog:
And here are some links to other plot-related posts around the blogosphere:
http://kidlit.com/2009/12/09/writing-a-hot-plot/ (by Kelly’s agent, Mary Kole)
http://storyflip.blogspot.com/2010/08/find-your-plot-fridays-what-to-do-what.html (by MG fantasy author, Janice Hardy)
http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/08/how-to-write-novel.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NathanBransford+%28Nathan+Bransford+-+Literary+Agent%29 (by the ever-awesome Nathan Bransford)
Go get that 1k a day, everyone!