Friday, June 3, 2016

A Plan of Attack

So let's get back to it. The writing, I mean. That's the point of all this.

When I was writing my "novel" last November, I decided to do something unprecedented: Plan. Usually I have a vague plot, a handful of characters, and a piece or two of witty dialogue, and then I just throw them together to see what happens (we call this "pantsing"). This time I tried to plan. And I think trying to adhere to a narrative outline made it harder. That was probably my worst attempt at a story.

But that doesn’t mean planning and outlining are inherently bad. So, I'm going to attempt to use some of those outlines for my revision I keep saying I'm going to do. One such outline uses eight story elements, which are basically what the protagonists wants and what stands in their way. We're going to try to do this for the 17 year old main character from The Midnight Carnival. She has a name, but I'm not going to disclose it at this point because I'm tired of people criticizing how I name my characters.

  1. Story Goal: What they are trying to achieve

To escape the circus and go home.

  1. Consequences: What disaster will occur if the goal is not reached

She could be trapped forever, sure, but I think we'll need a little more than that.

  1. Requirements: What they need to reach the goal

She must beat the demonic ringmaster and break the hold he has over his prisoners.

  1. Forewarnings: Events that show the consequences growing closer

Indications that time is passing in the outside world. Maybe she starts to forget things about her old life (Ooh, that's good!)

  1. Costs: What they are willing to give up to achieve the goal

Since I never did figure out how to end the story, I don’t yet know how far she might go to escape. Is she willing to betray the other captives, her newfound friends?

  1. Dividends: Rewards earned on the way to the goal

She makes some friends, and will probably learn a valuable lesson about something.

  1. Prerequisites: Events that must happen for requirements to be met

Well, she has to get around the ringmaster's henchmen (a trio of creepy-ass clowns). They're always around, always watching. She'll probably have to enlist some help. And she'll have to keep her wits about her enough to even make a plan.

  1. Preconditions: Small impediments to the plot

Well, there's those clowns. And this is an actual, functioning circus, so the captives have to perform, but can't tell anyone what's going on. Just… planning an escape is difficult under these circumstances. One never knows who they can trust.

So that's what I have so far. Bottom line is: I have only a vague idea of what happens in this story. And this is going to be a second draft! I have a lot still to figure out before July. That's when the next round of Camp NaNo is, if I didn't mention that.

See you Tuesday.

1 comment:

  1. I have been to what I would call the muse of this midnight carnival. I may be wrong but we will call this place "silverwood" I had never been until last week and had no idea how to get anywhere but neither did most of the employees they only new where they believed things were I had a friend who requested a beverage from a pizza stand to which everyone believed they knew where this suggested stand was. unfortunately it was not the case as we finally found this stand which I was beginning to wonder if it even existed it maid me think of story this girl told me about this midnight carnival and I started to picture it especially when none of the employees could tell me how to get back to the exit. All this place was missing was the scary clowns with butcher knives which my friend said are completely supplied at scarywood. You have a great imagination and I cant wait to read this story though my experience maybe skewed as silverwood is now stuck in my head so if you want to change my mind I am going to need a pretty good description of this carnival or the stage is set SILVERWOOD AFTER DARK Dun dun dahhhh.
    Thanks for sharing the start of the story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!