Thursday, February 01, 2007


Finally catching up again on the brilliant workshop He Wrote, She Wrote, I have printed off each week their thinking on various aspects of writing but haven't had time to read. So tonight while the dd got her fix of CBBC, I caught up. I have decided I love Jennifer Crusie, her way of thinking that is. In the latest installment she discusses how she outlines. Not that I am not a fan of outlining. It reminds of English Lit 101. I did it because I had to but there was no joy. In the past few years I have discovered mind mapping which I love. However tonight I found Jennifer's five points for outlining:-

1. Kick-Off scene where the conflict starts, also known as the first scene in the story.
2. First Turning Point where the conflict escalates, the stakes gets higher, and the protagonist does something she wouldn’t have back there in scene #1.
3. Midpoint/Second Turning Point where the conflict escalates the stakes get even higher and the protagonist does something that demonstrates that she’s changed so much she couldn’t go back to the person she was in #1 if she wanted to.
4. Third Turning Point/Dark Moment where the conflict escalates to the point where the protagonist is on the ropes, possibly thinks she has lost, is in the worst trouble of her life, on her knees bleeding in the wilderness. It’s bad.
5. Climax/Obligatory scene where everything is on the line and only one of them is comin’ out a winner

In between those five points she has acts broken up roughly as 1st act 30-35k which is set up. 2nd Act which is 25-30k raising the stakes. The 3rd is 20-25 the stakesget higher. The 4th act resolves everything in 20-25k.

That's all she uses for the first draft. I like this woman. She thinks simply. Tomorrow I outline in Jennifer Crusie style!


Lucy Diamond said...

I really like that - very simple and clear. Have copied it all out and am going to apply it to my synopsis immediately!
Cheers Liz, have a good weekend

liz fenwick said...

Thank Lucy. The workshop is well worht a look. Jennifer's part I find very useful as I think my mind works in a similar manor!

Enjoy the weekend. Hope the little ones improve :-)

Caroline said...

That's so simple and precise. I'll give it a go.
Thanks x

Helen said...

Have just popped onto your blog - steadying myself before I write another thousand or so words - and I find a great piece of advice. Thanks! I'm going to follow the link to see what other gems I can pick up as this structured writing lark is a bit new to me...

Have a good weekend.