The Write Plot Outline

The Write Plot Outline

Return to How To Plot Your Story

Module 1: the art of composition

A story, even when expressing chaos, must be unified. Unity is critical. Within this unity we must induce as much variety as possible. You don’t want to hit the same note over and over again, so that every scene sounds like every other.

Module 2: the write plot

It is vital for the writer to maintain control over the story from page 1 until the final page; the control will reveal a meticulously intricate plot that may seem simplistic on the surface, but is a cleverly and complicated web of set-ups and payoffs that ultimately result in a meaningful and rewarding experience. Story is what happens. The story is the whole, it holds the plot together and is driven by the exterior line of dramatic action. The plot is how the what happens and is the interior life of the story.

Module 3: 14 structural points

As a writer you are mostly trapped in what you are writing about and this prison of creativity can easily diffuse the impact of your story. You will be thinking about events in your story, details about certain significant events, dialogue that arises, etc and slowly drift away from seeing your story as a whole and be dazzled by the parts that make up the whole. You have you identify the 14 structural points and then describe briefly in a paragraph. Each of these structural point will have a set up and payoff – the payoff being the ultimate emotional reward for the reader/ audience.

Module 4: classical design

It is amazing how Hollywood has become synonymous with classical design. Often, Hollywood is blamed for shamelessly using its ‘formula’ to manipulate audiences and turn out the same story time and time again. Hollywood is not to blame. It is just one of millions of studios who follow the blueprint of classical design, which is not a western view of life. The principles of classical design were already in place when the epic Gilgamesh was carved in cuneiform on twelve clay tablets 4 000 years ago. It is neither ancient nor modern. It is human.

The classical or traditional way of telling a story gives audiences what they are familiar with and fulfils the conventions of the genre you are writing in. The classical design or three-act structure is simply telling a story that has a beginning – act one, a middle – act two, and an ending – act three.

Module 5: story events and story values

Once you have pulled your story into shape and looked at the whole, it is time to deconstruct and look at the parts that make up the whole. Story is what happens in your character’s life from the beginning of the story until the ending. It is made up of the most important story events out of the character’s life that will tell the character’s life story within the framework of your structure that holds everything in place. Each story event is a significant block of dramatic action that completes the whole. These story events are also known as scenes or sequences.

Module 6: opening versus ending

The only way to open the story is to know the ending. The ending is the first thing you must know before you start writing. The resolution must be clear in your mind before you write one word on paper. The resolution is rewarded by a dynamic ending. The ending began at the beginning of the writing process, when you first came up with an idea, then developed the high concept, then began building or constructing a story line. You have always known your ending, a point where the entire story line is paid off.

Module 7: the ordinary world versus the extraordinary world

Once you have hooked your audience with a perfect opening, you are ready to begin act i by introducing us to the ordinary world of your characters. Everything changes when they have to resolve issues in their extraordinary world at the beginning of act III.

Module 8: catalytic event versus climax

The catalytic event radically upsets the balance of forces in the protagonist’s life; throwing the protagonist’s life out of balance; and sends the protagonist on a quest that reaches the limits of his or her being. The climax is pay-off time. The character has to face the worst forces of antagonism.

Module 9: the dilemma versus conclusion

When your character is called to action, adventure, or a new life, it places the character under a dilemma. The character cannot immediately transform but embrace its flawed humanity. What is the dilemma/ issue/ problem caused as a result of the catalytic event? The character is drawn to the call of adventure and moves out of his or her drab, oppressed world into the magical foreign realms where they will be transformed from the ordinary to the extraordinary. The conclusion resolves the dilemma.

Module 10: the first turning point versus the second turning point

At the end of act 1i the protagonist has to make a choice that alters their destiny; at the end of act ii and even greater choice forces them to resolve issues and redeem themselves.

Module 11: new world versus hell

When the protagonist crossed the threshold at the end of act 1, this is the rebirth of the character, a strange, new world, where everything is different. The pace quickens during the second half of act ii when the protagonist meets new challenges, and the pace quickens as we rush towards the second turning point.

Module 12: the impact of turning points and transitional values

When the gap opens between expectation and result, it jolts the audience with surprise. The audience expects something to happen, then the unexpected occurs. They experience a rush of insight into character and the story. This moment of shock instantly provokes curiosity and takes the audience back through the story.

If you want to sign up for The Write Plot, send us an email