Plot Clinic Revision is close to finished

I’ve written about four thousand words today of all-new material–the ONLY thing I still have to add is detail on Line-for-Scene, Take Two. And I have a few more typos to hunt down and kill.

Thought you might like to see the table of contents. Line-For-Scene, Take Two, all the way at the bottom, will have more pages and headers than it has now, but otherwise, this is close to gone gold.

Introduction: What Is Plotting (And Why Is It So Hard?) 8
     Plot Is… 8
     Where Plots Are Born 9
          Plotting’s first home is your logic. 9
          Plotting’s second home is your life. 9
          Plotting’s third home is your Muse. 10
     A word of warning on dealing with the subconscious 11
     How Plots Grow 12
     Before you start writing 12
     While you’re writing 13
     While you’re revising and editing your first and subsequent drafts 13
     While you’re plowing through you’re editor’s final revisions 13
     The Seven Basic Plots (Plus A Mermaid) 14
     Plotting Is A Process, Not An Act 15
How To Use This Book 17
     Order of Use 18
          First: 18
          Second: 19
          Third: 20
     What You’ll Need 20
          Absolute Necessities 21
          Should Haves 21
          Things You Might Need 21
     My Assumptions 23
Section I: Plotting Before Writing 25
Structures 27
     How Many Plot Cards Will I Need? 27
          Usual Novel Word Counts 28
          Figuring Average Scene Length Wordcounts 28
          The Number of Scenes You’ll Need Is… 28
     The Three-Act Structure 29
          Pros 32
          Cons 33
     Character Structure, Single POV 33
          Pros 33
          Cons 34
     Character Structure, Multiple POV 34
          Pros 36
          Cons 36
     Cliffhanger Structure 36
          Pros 37
          Cons 37
     Organic Structure 37
          Pros 38
          Cons 39
     Timeline Structure 39
          Pros 41
          Cons 41
     Mixing It Up 41
Section II: Tools—When Things Are Going Well 42
Plot Tools, and Why There Are So Many 43
Tool 1: Question 45
     The Good Question 46
     After you figure out your question and ask it, don’t say anything else. 49
     Exercise: Question 49
Tool 2: Twist 50
     Doing the Twist 50
     Exercise: Twist 53
Tool 3: Cliffhanger 55
     You can leave your reader hanging: 56
     Working out the cliffhanger: 57
     Exercise: Cliffhanger 58
Tool 4: Character 60
     What is Annalise’s compelling need? 61
     Exercise: Character 63
Tool 5: Line-For-Scene, Take One 65
     Exercise: Line-For-Scene, Take One 69
Tool 6: Conflict 72
     Exercise: Conflict 75
Tool 7: Language 76
     Exercise: Language 81
Tool 8: Culture 83
     Exercise: Culture 86
Tool 9: Map and Terrain 87
     Exercise: Map and Terrain 90
Tool 10: Throwing Stuff Against A Wall 91
     Get Stuff 91
     Throw Stuff 92
     Make Sense of Stuff 93
     Exercise: Throwing Stuff Against A Wall 95
Tool 11: Theme and Concept 96
     Exercise: Theme and Concept 101
Section III: Tools—When Things Go Splat 103
Tool 12: Awake—Timed Writing 104
     Exercise: Timed Writing 106
Tool 13: Awake—Word Games 108
     Goosebumps 108
          Exercise: Goosebumps 111
     Pong 112
          Exercise: Pong 114
     Chase Your Tail 115
          Exercise: Chase Your Tail 117
Tool 14: Awake—Drawings 118
     Random Drawing 118
     Exercise: Drawing 121
Tool 15: Awake—Cards 123
     Everyone Can Use These Cards 124
     Recommended Tarot Decks 125
     Card one—my problematic character 128
     Card two—my character’s objective 129
     Card three—my character’s obstacle 130
     Exercise: Cards 131
Tool 16: Awake—Making and Doing Things 133
     Exercise: Making and Doing Things 135
Tool 17—Chop Wood, Carry Water 136
     Exercise: Chop Wood, Carry Water 138
Tool 18: Awake—Bore Your Muse 140
     Exercise: Bore Your Muse 143
Tool 19: Asleep—Dream Journal 145
     Exercise: Dream Journal 149
Tool 20: Asleep—Dream Blackmail 150
     Exercise: Dream Blackmail 151
Section IV: Plotting While Writing 153
Fix an Existing Project 155
     Start by building a line-for-scene outline on white index cards. 156
     Now you have to fix the line-for-scene. 157
     First you define the problem. 157
     Then you decide on a course of action. 158
     Then you write line-for-scenes for existing scenes on plot cards. 160
     Finally, create fresh plot cards for the rest of your book. 161
Dance With the One Who Brought You 162
     Rethinking Plot Points 162
     Don’t panic. 163
     The Great (Late) Idea 166
          What do you do? 166
     Changing Characters 167
          When it happens: 167
     Changing the World 168
          If—probably when—this happens to you, how do you handle it? 169
     Changing the Crisis 169
          How to Fix the Crisis 170
Plotting the Ending 173
     The Good Ending 174
     Exercise: Plotting the Ending 178
     Plotting While Revising 180
     No 180
Line-For-Scene, Take Two 182
Conclusion 186

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

3 comments… add one
  • PolarBear Apr 28, 2007 @ 8:37

    Salivation ensues. I’m excited about getting and reading this one. Thank you for doing it.

  • Inkblot Apr 28, 2007 @ 5:51

    Holly this looks fabulous. Thank you so much for incorporating so many of our suggestions – don’t know about everyone else, but I feel pretty special to know that I may have contributed in some way 🙂

  • unxplaindfires Apr 27, 2007 @ 21:13

    I can’t wait to spend a weekend plowing through this and a lifetime working with it!

    Thanks Holly…I’m off to figure out what can be cut from this months budget.

    Cheers

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