Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Basics - from my POV

Last week, I posted a link to this post by Lynn Price over at Behler Blog regarding The Basics. If you haven't checked out the post, please do so.

I want to talk, solely from my perspective, and about my current project, about The Basics.

The first part of The Basics is Exposition, aka the introductory stuff: setting, characters, and whatnot. For my current project, this encompassed the first six chapters. Okay, don't panic here, my chapters are short, very short, no more than four pages in length . . . at least in the introductory section. In fact, the very first chapter is only one page.

The second part of The Basics is the Rising Action, aka the good stuff leading up to the Climax. As Lynn so expertly put it "this is where you have to commit to your story and build the foundations for the big Ta-Da". For my current project, this encompasses quite a few chapters.

The third part of The Basics is the Climax (note: Lynn added a bit of an addendum to her post about the Climax). This is, in Lynn's words "the Ta-Da moment". In my instance, since this is a mystery, this is what I call the Big Reveal. All the pieces of the puzzle are neatly put together to form a picture. Ta-Da!

The fourth part of The Basics is the Falling Action. What happens here? Well, everybody lives happily ever after. Ha! Kidding. This is the "whew moment". This is the moment where the characters, at least my characters, are able to breathe again, to realize that the case is solved, and decide what comes next for them - all of them, bad guys included.

The last part of The Basics is the Denouement. This is where I get to write and they all lived happily ever after. Kidding . . . again. This is what happens to the characters, good and bad, before said characters "ride off into the sunset".

On my current rough draft, I've already written the Climax. I have a few chapters to insert before the Climax, aka the Big Reveal.

Today during lunch, I outlined both the Falling Action and the Denouement. I typed out the name of every character and beneath their names I did a bullet point list of what happens to them after the Climax. Those bullet points will help me create a series of chapters that detail the impact of the events leading up to this moment for the characters and provide a glimpse into the futures of the characters.

All in all, I love this little chart. Thanks, Lynn!!! I love keeping a list of chapters and lumping them into the various aspects - exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, denouement - of the chart so I can make sure I've included all of these aspects in my little gem of brilliance called . . . ooops, sorry, can't tell you the title, it's secret. Shhhhhh . . .


p.s. all items in actual quote (") marks come from Lynn Price's post on Behler Blog titled The Basics.


Jody Hedlund said...

That is a great list for helping outline a book! I've heard different terms used for the varioius parts, but ultimately I think each book needs this kind of structure in one form or another. It's like the frame that holds everything together.

Alleged Author said...

That is a great way to outline your book! I'm off to do something like that right now!

Scott said...

Jody - it was really interesting sectioning off the chapters based on this list. I know everybody does things differently when outlining, but this list is going to become my writer's companion, especially during the edit phase.

Alleged - I don't do the traditional outline, but this chart is a great checklist to make sure that the events that need to happen, do happen.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

That's fantastic! I do something similar with my outlining, and it works well. You're keeping me in suspense!

Scott said...

Michelle - this chart was really used more as a checklist, than an outline. I lumped the chapters into the various sections. I'm going to go back and actually type out all the chapter titles into Excel and then do the chart titles next to the appropriate chapters. It really is a neat way to make sure I've covered, well, the basics. Ha.