Friday, November 4, 2016

Pre-outlining: PUTTING IDEAS TO PAPER

I generated this questionnaire after reading K.M. Weiland's book  5 Secrets of Story Structure. This is a must read, and it's free, so pick it up.

Filling out this form is the first step in making your abstract ideas concrete. If you don’t know these answers, the reader will suffer and ultimately put your novel down after the first few pages or even the first few paragraphs.

Book Title:
Thesis or theme:
One sentence summary:
One paragraph summary or blurb:
What is the goal of my novel? Or, another words, how do you want your reader to feel, or what do you want your reader to learn from the experience?
What is the Lie the Protagonist Believes? What does he want in the overall story? What are his goals? What is he trying to achieve?

Protagonist:
What mysteries lay hidden in the protagonist’s past that must be uncovered to confront them and move on?

Antagonist force:
What is the Hook? What happens next?

Inciting Incident: What event starts the ball rolling in the plot? Where does the conflict begin? What sets the story in motion?

Key Event: What event reveals what the story is about? How does it draw the protagonist into the story line?

First Plot Point: What event kicks the protagonist out of the normal world? How does he try to regain his footing?
What is the doorway between the first and second act? What is each side of the doorway? (The Key Event and the First Plot Point)

Act Two: What is the main conflict that the protagonist has learned?

First Pinch Point: What is the new information that foreshadows the Midpoint and Third Plot Point? How does the Pinch Point influence the following scenes? How does the Pinch Point provide new clues about the nature of the battle the protagonist is waging? How does the protagonist react?
What choice will the protagonist ultimately choose? What forces are out of the character’s control? What does he not comprehend about the situation?

Midpoint: Moment of Truth: What is the central truth about the nature of the story that shatters the Lie the Protagonist Believes and changes his perspective? What is the catalyst that makes your character fight to resolve his conflict? What does the protagonist understand about what needs to be done? What does he do to fight back?

Second Pinch Point: What happens to remind the reader what is at stake? What is at stake? What slaps the protagonist in the face? What is he willing to pay to defeat the antagonist and achieve his goal?

Act Three: Third Plot Point: What event turns everything around and lands a deep emotional blow to the protagonist?
What is the climax of the protagonist’s inner arc? How does he finally face the truth? Will he rise above and conquer or will he fall deeper in a tragic negative arc? How does he embrace the new truth he has learned? Or, how does the Third Plot Point force him deeper into darkness, reaffirm his Lie, and compel him to rise bent on destruction?

Climax: What is the true conflict that is the heart of the story, and how is it resolved? How is the protagonist’s conflict obliterated? When is the protagonist’s true goal realized?


Resolution: How is the protagonist different from whoever he was in the beginning? How has the world changed around him? How does his future look from here? What is the final emotion I want to leave with the reader?