Houston, We Have a Plot

Yesterday’s post left our heroine (that’s me) fretting about whether her novel has a plot.

And yes, I know most writers out there would worry about this at some point before they, oh, say, finished it, polished and sent full manuscripts to agents and editors.

Hey, I follow my own path.

But here I am, coming up with a more conclusive ending at the behest of one agent and it started to niggle at me that maybe I didn’t have an actual plot arc. So I started the online plotting class on Monday, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post. Loglines first, now two-word descriptors and mottoes for the main characters. The latter was more fun than the former.

But I’m impatient.

I’m 70% through my revision and I have two more weeks at home before I enter a five-week cycle of business road-trip hell. I seldom get much in the way of writing done when I’m on the road. Which bites, but there it is.

I want this revision done done done before October 18. Mark your calendars.

Feeling this pressure, last night I went to Alexandra Sokoloff’s blog. She’s the very dramatic blond above. I met Alexandra at the RT Convention and caught the tail end of her workshop on The Index Card Method of viewing story structure. She’s primarily a screenwriter, so she thinks in terms of scenes and movie structure. Which, particularly for genre, can be a really useful way of approaching a novel. I didn’t see much of her workshop — it was one of those deals where I figured I know how story structure worked (ah, those blissful days of ignorance) and I only popped in because the other session I was in ended early, and there she was, talking passionately and tacking up and tearing down index cards from the carpet wall, while the next session trickled in.

But what I did hear was fascinating and I gleaned enough to get that she has the whole thing up on her blog.

So, last night I worked her method.

The good news? I have a plot! Who knew??? At least my Act I, II and Midpoint climaxes happen very nearly at the exact pages she says they should. Apparently that Liberal Arts education of mine managed to shape my consciousness enough for story arc to sink in without my knowing it. (This is, by the way, based on story arcs as in plays developed in Ancient Greece.)

Oh, yeah — the bad news? Well I have no discernible climax in Act III. Oops. And that agent, bless her heart, said I needed a more conclusive ending. Hmmm. How about an ACTUAL ending, Jeffe?

Alas.

But now I have a strategy. All this foreplay is now leading up to something.

Just wait — you’ll see.

(12 days and counting.)

7 Replies to “Houston, We Have a Plot”

  1. I'm excited for you and will have to check out the blog. And good luck finding that elusive, conclusive ending. I think that's why my book ANAM CARA has sequels. Just couldn't get it all wrapped up.

  2. There, you see, Jeffe – this is what I try to tell people. You already KNOW most of these things, but it helps to be aware what you have and what you're missing!

    Glad you're getting it done!

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