Breathing room.

I’m letting some time pass on Julia so I can make a (hopefully) final pass at the manuscript and start the agent search. Can I get a woot-woot or yee-haw or your personal favorite exclamation?

Instead of resting my brain, I’m diving back in. I’ve been thinking of expanding another NaNo project. The one I took on two years ago. There’s a good story buried in there and the basis for some interesting characters. The draft itself rambles and the end doesn’t make any sense…not good for something that was supposed to be a mystery.

I knew the general ending to Julia, but I didn’t know how to end it (if that makes sense). With an even shakier ending for this work in progress, I’ve been contemplating the benefits of plotting versus my usual pantsing.

The question is how. Outlines intimidate me. I’ve had problems with them that stem from high school English classes. We’d have to complete and turn in an outline prior to turning that outline into an essay. I always had more trouble with the outlines than I did the essays. I don’t know why. I do think in terms of idea:supporting idea, but having to write it out pssst.

This Christmas, my husband bought me Save the Cat, a book on screenwriting. He’d heard that it worked well for prose, too. The crazy thing? I’d heard that exact same thing only a few months before and was contemplating buying the book.

I think my husband might have ESP or be able to predict the future or something. He got just the right gift at what turned out to be just the right time. Isn’t he awesome?

Save the Cat walks through writing a screenplay from solidifying your idea to sketching it out…not quite plotting. It’s creating an outline, but scene-by-scene, which makes much more sense to me.

This method does make you think in terms of acts which does feel a little unnatural. However, I once challenged myself to write a TV spec script and I had to force myself to write to the commercial breaks…that’s four acts in every hour drama. Completely new respect for TV writers. Give a try.

I did learn a lot from that script. It got me thinking in terms of mini-climaxes rather than just the one grand finale.

Anyway, that’s all to say that I don’t think adapting the act set up to my NaNo WIP is a bad thing.

Once you look at the three act structure (the book’s about screenwriting for feature films), think in terms of those mini-climaxes…what happens right before the act ends that pushes you watch/read what happens next.

From the mini-climaxes, work backwards…how do you get there? If there’s a scene you’re thinking of, which climax does it lead into?

So, this is my plan for creating the story BEFORE I start writing it out. Fingers crossed.


6 thoughts on “

  1. bethfinke

    I *always* hated writing outlines in school — found them far too limiting. I far prefer your idea to work backwards…good luck!

  2. woo woo!!! 🙂

    exciting!! and good luck with the run through _ I do hope it’s the last one, and the agent search!

    I am def a panster, who becomes a plotter after frst draft. I know that pre-plotting before writting is time saving but I just don;t enjoy it. Discovering my story as I write it is one of very favourite things.
    I do the scene by scene breakdown after the fact, and adjust.

    Good luck!

  3. Someone in my writing group just send out an e-mail saying how much she loved Save the Cat, and that she wished she read it five years ago! She thinks it would have saved her that much frustration scene building. Interesting, and funny that I should read it here and from her so close together – def something I’ll have to pick up now!

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