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


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
Inciting Incident
Overall Desire (start low)
1st Reversal & Decision: changed desire & motive

Act 2

Opponent’s Plan & 1st Counter Attack
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
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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