Do not ask who I am and do not ask me to remain the same.
More than one person, doubtless like me,
writes in order to have no face.

Michel Foucault

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL

I just purchased this book and awaiting shipment from Amazon. It promises to make me a writer. I am told, in this book, I will discover the 22 plot building blocks and how to use them. And there are 22...I counted them.

Act 1

Self-Realization, Need, Desire
Ghost & Context
Problem/Need
Inciting Incident
Overall Desire (start low)
Ally/Allies
Opponent/Mystery
Opponent/Ally
1st Reversal & Decision: changed desire & motive

Act 2

Plan
Opponent’s Plan & 1st Counter Attack
Drive
Attack by Ally
Apparent Defeat
2nd Reversal & Decision: obsessive drive, changed desire & motive
Audience revelation about opponent-ally
3rd Reversal & Decision

Act 3

Gate, Gauntlet, Visit to Death
Battle
Self-Revelation/Thematic Revelation
Moral Decision
New Equilibrium

I have also discovered, while traversing the internet machine, the basic traditional fiction writing plot development structure. If I had known this when I started writing, all those magic questions of how to would have been answered. I would not have spent my time asking how many chapters are in novel, or what is a fiction novel, or maybe, how many words are in a chapter. It's said there are no silly questions. Sometimes I question those cliches. So here it is, the end of, at least, many of your questions on the how in writing the Great American Novel.

Chapter 1: We view the normal world of our protagonist
Chapter 2: An Inciting Incident occurs forcing the protagonist from his/her/its normal world
Chapter 3: The important Secondary characters are introduced and the tone and style are fully established
Chapter 4: The protagonist must make a life-changing (although he/she/it might not know it at the time) decision or choice
Chapter 5: The protagonist’s journey begins because of the decision or choice made. This is the 1st Plot Point.
Chapters 6—9: Complications and obstacles occur as the journey begins and continues.
Chapter 10: A crisis forces the protagonist to make another decision or choice that forces the story into a new direction. This is the Mid-Point.
Chapters 11—14: The obstacles and complications become more complex.
Chapter 15: New events derived from the increased complexities for a new choice or decision on the protagonist. This is Plot Point 2.
Chapter 16: The new decision or choice makes the situation appear bleak.
Chapter 17: The situation worsens.
Chapter 18: The situation appears hopeless; this is the darkest moment.
Chapter 19: The resolution where the character learns a life lesson and is changed.
Chapter 20: The wrap-up where the reader sees the evidence of the change in the protagonist.

So there. How simple is that? I believe my next step is to apply my new found knowledge to my latest work, SAVING HEMINGWAY. Let's see what happens.

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