Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What I'm Currently Working On

I've been working hard on my plots. Changed the focus of the novel and honed it down to one central protagonist with a single main goal to provide some real drive to the story. Thanks to the great recommendation from my current writing teacher, Dennis Foley, I'm using beat sheets to help me outline better and more simply. Foley's Writing The First Novel class is great, by the way. Already into Week 5 of it - excited for even more insights awaiting me in the last half of the course. Beat sheets are the outlining method used in Hollywood (where Foley started his writing career). Just write out each beat that's necessary for moving the plot forward, then go back over it and divide them into scenes/locations. So simple and so useful.
So I'm going through the plots and getting everything tightened up before I dive into writing out Draft 1.0 (as everything up to now I'm considering Draft 0.5 or the big, fat brainstorm Draft). I'm currently using the following list of questions suggested by Foley to help outline each scene within the beat sheet. And I quote:
— What do I want this scene to do?
— Who must be in the scene to do it?
— What must they do to get done what I want to happen?
— What must be their goals, aims, desires that motivates their behavior in the scene?
— What or who I standing in the path of each goal?
— Have I set up goals that are more likely to be on a collision course than not? (We want helpful cooperation in real life, not in our stories.)
I'm also assessing how ready I am to dive into Draft 1.0. Here are the 8 questions my teacher gave us to check how ready we are.
1. Have you settled on a genre? If so, what is it?
2. Are you using an outline? 
3. Have you decided who (singular character/central character) your story is about? 
4. Do you have a general feel for the very rough sequence of the story? Where it will go? 
5. Have you decided how you are going to narrate the story? (Whose consciousness you will use to tell the story? First, Second or Third person narrator?) If not, write what's comfortable for you in your early drafts and don't worry about it. 
6. Do you feel confident that you can place enough continuing and increasing conflict in the path of your protagonist that your story will get more and more intense as it moves toward the climax? 
7. Is there a particular hole in your vision of the story you want to write that bothers/concerns you at this point? 
8. Is there one thing nagging at you about the entire process that you had hoped would come up this early in the course that hasn't that you'll like to bring up?

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