I have a confession to make. I love Task #5! (http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/6-tasks-youll-love-yourself-for-checking-off-your-nano-pre-writing-list/). I mean if Task #5 and I were both single, I’d be tempted to marry him/her/it. Oh sure, I felt an inkling of attraction to Task #2 (a.k.a. brainstorming), but now I’m totally committed to #2’s dreamy older sibling (a.k.a. finding plot points). It’s THE task for the plot/planning averse person that I am. I loved it so much that I even started writing again. Not much, just a little scene dealing with the wider world out there beyond Mud City. The world my characters need to explore in act three of this mess.
Featured image shamelessly stolen from a post on Pinterest. For a blast from the past see the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnHcjna0RaA. This breaks my rule of wanting to use only free stock photos for this blog. In my defense, try finding free art dealing with the number five.
In this exercise, I learned about the concept of a hook and realized that I didn’t have much of one. My novel opens with a sci fi thief looking for a job. Eh. So what? Would it be more interesting if the hook was Persephone’s commercial? Assuming the story is going to be around 50,000 words, I need to slip this so-called hook into the first 500 words. Start with the commercial presented as if it was an action sequence. You can replay the entire 30 second advert and then have the call come in from Arch. The advert can show off Persephone’s skill set and her promise of “no violence”. It’ll make her reference to her commercial later on in the story more fun. And you can have her thinking dismal thoughts about how she just spent her next three rent checks on producing the ad. Finally, it’ll give you a chance to show the audience what the character looks like.
Inciting event – This happens at the 12% point (so 6000 words in). Arch introduces the job and his interest in using the tech to get off planet at around the 2100 mark. Even if I am re-tooling the beginning to include a scene with the commercial this only pushes the inciting event to about 3,000 words in. Maybe I should jazz up the scene where Persephone goes to the old space port? I’m not sure I want to squeeze in 3,000 words of action sequence just to delay the job offer. Might be better to leave it where it is. How standard does this whole plot business need to be?
First plot point – At the 25% point (12500). The bombing of the Albion compound (or the loss of Japeth’s home?). Depending on how to you decide to present this. I think you may want to keep the scene at Japeth’s house since that’s a better way to show off the fact that monsters are lose in the colony. And actually, this point is placed reasonably well. 11,500 mark and since you’re adding to the beginning, it will be at the 12,000 mark.
The First Pinch Point – Agent Hixton’s warning of doom? This is occurring around the 16,000 word mark. A little early? The estimated placement is at 37% (18,500).
Second plot point (Midpoint) – In the current version of the story, this is when the agents chase the characters, they turn the tables and get the H-craft. I think you need to make this into the first plot point. I want the chase scene to come earlier. Make the second plot point the explosion at the Albion compound. Ooof. Painful restructuring, but it makes a lot more sense. You wanted to move the flying scene to the first act anyway. This is a story about hover craft and you should have your characters flying around in them as soon as possible.
The Second Pinch Point (planned but not written) – Japeth’s family is threatened, one of them used as ‘fuel’ (and the rest of them kidnapped to be used as hostages/fuel later on). 62% in. This would be happening at around the 30,000 mark in the current story. Turns out I’m spot on with the placement of some action points. I just have the damn things in the wrong order…..
THIRD ACT (Entirely Hypothetical)
While Arch and Persephone are planning their expedition to the eXime base, you need to establish the fact that more people are disappearing (when eels attack).
The Third Plot Point – As Persephone approaches the end of the story, she reaches a moment of apparent defeat. She and the rescue team have encountered the hazards of the colony world (weather and attacking fauna) and have become lost! Now how the hell do they get out of it and find the eXime base?
Climax – The battle at the eXime compound. Discovery of Myra’s crazy launch plans for getting off world. The realization that there’s an orbiting station (which in Myra’s religious parlance is probably called something like Purgatory).
Resolution – The government strike force is called in to clean up the base. Realization that the creatures eXime designed and released into the environment are going to be a continuing threat to the colony. A plan is initiated to see if the “technology” can be safely harnessed to get people off world.