A Novel in 3 Months (week 4) – more on structuring your plot

Last thing watched: Burn Notice
What’s playing on the iPod right now:
See Me Beautiful by Sister Hazel

I just received two loaners  from Kitty, one of my crit gals, and I simply must share this.  The first is a DVD of Michael Hauge’s “Screenwriting” workshop (for those interested, he’s visiting Sydney and Melbourne in June to do his Art of the Romantic Comedy seminar – details here).  The other is an audio CD called The Hero’s Two Journeys with Michael Hauge and Chris Vogler.  While I haven’t listened yet, there’s two accompanying  diagrams that I found really valuable.  The first is:

The Hero’s Inner Journey – Chris Vogler

  1. Limited awareness of problem (Ordinary World)
  2. Increased awareness of the need to change (Call to Adventure)
  3. Fear, resistance to change (Refusal of the Call)
  4. Overcoming fear (Meeting the Mentor)
  5. Committing to change (Crossing the Threshold)
  6. Experimenting (Tests, Allies, Enemies)
  7. Preparing for major change (Approach to the Cave)
  8. Big change (Ordeal, Death and Rebirth)
  9. Accepting consequences (Reward, Seizing the Sword)
  10. Rededication (the Road Back)
  11. Final attempt(s) (Resurrection)
  12. Mastery (Return with the Elixir)

I’ve put the accompanying stages of the outer journey in brackets so you can see where/when they occur.

The next is Michael Hauge’s Six Stage Plot Structure.  While I’d love to reproduce the diagram for you, I’ll let him show you via the article on his website.  Print it out.  Use it.  It’s brilliant, especially for the more detailed plotting required in longer books (I’ve been using it for my in-progress off-world/erotic urban fantasy hybrid which I fiddle about with on my down days :grin:)

You can get ahold of these via The Book Depository (free shipping!!) or direct from the author’s site here.  (For those of you who insist on feeding the terrible corporate behemoth that is Amazon, go here for the 2003 edition, here for the ’04 edition).

Okay, that’s enough food for thought for today!  Later this week, I’ll share the basic outline of my story so far.


6 comments on “A Novel in 3 Months (week 4) – more on structuring your plot

  1. thanks for sharing those Paula. Argh, just not sure if I’m nailing the plot. Guess I’ll find out 🙂 Oh, and just noticed the characters in your wips Paula – I’m an AJ too (to my family and some friends).

  2. Don’t sweat over the plot, Anita. That’s the beauty of a first draft 😀 Because I write and rewrite every time I come back to the file, mine are generally more than just a ‘skeleton’ like many writers have (my skeleton is my synopsis). My final product always comes about month after I’ve written out the whole story, so I then go back and add stuff. And depending on what my editor says, it may still need some revisions. He had some great insights into my last submission and it made for such a better book, IMO

  3. Can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying this blog, Paula. Especially like giving myself the time to think things through properly before getting to work in earnest (or is that another form of procrastination? LOL). Thanks again.

  4. Hi Paula,
    I just snuck back for a peek, shamefaced at having committed to the challenge – but dropping out shortly after. Belated apologies. Work is a four letter word and I do not like it (just ask Anita!).

    It’s great to see Anita and Sandie are still involved.

    Good luck to everyone.


  5. Hey Louise – it’s great to give your story space in your brain 😀 I find my best rewriting comes between when I *think* I’ve finished the whole book and a week before I have to submit it.

    Shayne – don’t sweat it! The beauty is you can return to reread the articles and pick up your writing again.

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