~ There is only one journey: going inside yourself. ~
- Rainer Maria Rilke


The plotting of a narrative ~ Tuesday, March 21, 2006

An early-ish start today--and two posts. I'll do separate ones for each subject.

Yesterday was unusually rewarding--for which I have David Trottier and Robert McKee (both of whom wrote books on screenwriting) to thank. Thank you both. Trottier has written a very simple and practical primer on things like the three act structure etc. McKee's book is useful in a different way--it breaks down multiple aspects of story and narrative in very interesting ways. Ways that all make sense--ways that I read about and thought "ah--I knew that at some level, but never thought to put it that way".

McKee is the guy whose workshop Donald Kaufmann (Charles Kaufmann's non-existant twin) attends in "Adaptation" (in one scene he's doing situps and has got a copy of the McKee book I've been reading, _Story_, on his chest). The film emphasises McKee's "method" as being formulaic and so on, but IMO the terms are general enough to apply to all except the antiplot (which he also acknowledges as existing etc.). The book actually has an incredibly large scope and reads very well. I would, in fact, argue (based on admittedly flawed recollection of a single viewing of the film, years ago), that "Adaptation" follows the same pattern of conflicts, turning points and escalating stakes that McKee advocates, but they're internal and PoMo, rather than the external, action-oriented iteration that Donald advocates.

So at any rate, yesterday, armed with super sticky post-its, a whiteboard and dry-erase markers, I plotted out the main storyline of the Regency, and the two primary two sub-plots, separately. I worked through all the scenes, buildups and turning points, grouped by storyline, each with its own separate catalyst, inciting incident, act structure etc. (and each in a different colour). Then, since they were all stickies, I moved them all into the narrative order I'd need to tell the story, with each scene slotted into the order I'd need it. The dry erase marker was then used to work out the timeline of the story--when each scene takes place in the context of the narrative.

And now, it's all there, and it feels comfortable and in control and really really great. :-D Of course, the real proof will be in the pudding--I'll have to see how it all comes together when I start writing. But hopefully this will be an excellent aid to getting this book done, finally.

Of course, I also learned about a writing contest for young adult fiction (but you don't have to be a young adult to enter, from what I understand--I should double check). Deadline: end of March. So I'm working on something for that, since there's no entry fee, so it's only the cost of postage. It will be nice to have something "out there" again. It has been a while.

So, the actual writing, from my whiteboard planning, will have to wait, unfortunately. *sigh*

::Posted by Anduril Elessar @ 8:46 AM::::


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