Phase Two- 5 Basic steps to setting up a workable outline:

I’m back with some more pointers on setting up a plot or workable outline to be Nano ready before November. Last time I talked about having a solid foundation to base your story on. The Conflict. Well, if you have worked on that and have come up with a conflict, you are ready for Phase two. You can think of this as the framing the house phase. Building on top of the foundation of conflict you’ve already started. I’m using writing a romance for reference and am keeping the steps simple and to the point. In this step we’re only adding the general frame work.

Step 1: The set-up or opening scene. You can start with either the Heroine or Hero or both. But you want to set-up the ball rolling towards setting up the conflict

Step 2: Inciting incident-This is putting your character into a position where a major decision has to be made. Something that will involve the conflict in some way, and something that throws your character off balance. I have given an example below based on the characters I used in previous example for establishing conflict.

Heroine’s involvement with a police investigation in the past brought tragedy to the family she was trying to help and herself.

Ex. The inciting incident is the police coming to psychic heroine for help in with an investigation.

Step 3: You’ll want a first turning point- This is the point where the character makes the difficult decision or is forced too. Either way you will want to have an idea of what pushes the character into making a decision that is against what they would normally do or is against their nature. Again I will use the same character as example

The Heroine having promised herself to never become involved again means the risk of not helping has to be greater than the risk of helping the police. The first turning point is where this realization happens. Ex. The heroine realizes more women are going to die. How can she not help and try to save them?

Step 4: Midpoint-This is the halfway mark-You’ll want a major turning point here, a plot point that changes the course of the story sending it in a new direction that ramps up the risk and/or crisis. It can be emotional or physical or both, depending on what type of romance you are writing.

Step 5: This is third plot point in your story-A major decision or event occurs at this point. Generally about three quarters of the way through. I personally think of this as one of the biggest points in the plot. (But that’s just my opinion) but whatever happens here whether an event or decision made is pretty much guaranteed to bring everything collapsing down upon your characters and pushing or leading them to the black moment.

If you make these plot points good and solid and based around the original conflict I believe you’ll have a solid structure. Once you have that it will just be a matter of adding the right scenes into the right part of the structure. You might only have a scene or two at first, but these plot points will offer you a map along the way and keep you moving forward. I have faith that you can be ready to rock it out come the month of November and Nano http://nanowrimo.org/

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