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crAZRick
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crAZRick, Plotting Basics -- Writing Exercise

(thriller)

* Rich British snobutante, Chelsea is on a shopping spree with friends in Paris; Chelsea is 6 weeks pregnant, and on top of the world. Across town, Marco readies himself for his date with Chelsea later in the day, obsessing over details while ogling various pictures of his beloved Chelsea. Chelsea displays an obvious dislike for the plebian-nature of the middle- and lower-classes, while she and her gal-pals shop, chat, lunch, and laugh at the plight of the less-fortunate than themselves. When plans for the evening are discussed, Chelsea reveals that she has a date with an uber-rich Spanish prince, who she plans to trap into marriage by exposing her pregnancy.

* Chelsea becomes exasperated while waiting for her driver to arrive at a pre-determined place at a pre-determined time, as any good servant should. Her limo arrives she chides the driver harshly and publicly for being nearly 12 minutes late. Marco, the driver, apologizes, promising she will never have to worry about such a thing for the rest of her life, as he loads her and her packages into the car.

* Marco drives into a parking structure, and stops, assaulting Chelsea violently as she tries to call for help. Marco moves Chelsea from the limo to a van, setting the interior of the limo ablaze, and binding Chelsea’s eyes with a white handkerchief, her mouth with duct tape, and her hands and feet with a length of sturdy rope, before departing in the van. Marco takes Chelsea on the scenic route through the bowels of Paris, to a run-down bayside warehouse, ties her to a chair and calls her father, a businessman on Chelsea’s cell phone.

* Chelsea’s father contacts the authorities, his lawyers and other handlers, and the Spanish prince, Chelsea’s date, filling everyone in on the tragic circumstances of the kidnapping plot. All the king’s men move into action to try to find Marco before he makes any more demands or harms Chelsea further. The limo is quickly found, destroyed, no clues.

* A cat-and-mouse pursuit of Marco via Chelsea’s cell phone GPS tracking signal ensues, leading to a dead-end at the warehouse, where the van is found, also torched. Marco has spirited Chelsea away by sea-plane, to a nearby island chain, where they will be hard to find. Marco makes further contact with Chelsea’s father, demanding controlling interest in several key corporations under the family name be signed over to another corporate entity within 24 hours, or Chelsea and her baby will die.

* In a final effort to track Marco, the Spanish prince tracks the kidnapper-arsonist-extortionist to his evil lair, as time is running out for Chelsea. The extortion plot pays off, Chelsea’s father gives up controlling interest in many of his family companies, deciding that his daughter and unborn grandchild’s lives are more important than money and power, but secretly vowing to eventually get it all back somehow. The deal is made and verified by Marco, then Marco is confronted by the Spanish prince, who kills Marco and saves Chelsea. It is then revealed that the Spanish prince holds phantom controlling interest in the holding company to which Chelsea’s father signed over his family fortune
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TrayseaWrites
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Re: crAZRick, Plotting Basics -- Writing Exercise

Good story! I didn't know we were supposed to go into detail in the plot exercise.
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crAZRick
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Re: crAZRick, Plotting Basics -- Writing Exercise

I didn't know either, Traysea, it just worked out that way, in 6 steps or less

I'm sure if this develops into anything grander, the details will change or become even more clear, so this is hardly detailed, really.

thanks for the feedback! :smileyvery-happy:
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crAZRick
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Re: crAZRick, Plotting Basics -- Writing Exercise

I did this one early.

Just a friendly bump back to the top of the page.
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danielnoah
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Re: crAZRick, Plotting Basics -- Writing Exercise

Wow, this is serious! Nicely done, Rick. This feels more like an outline for a feautre film than a short, but that's fine. I really like the way you set us up to think that Marco is going to be a romantic underdog, only to pull the rug out and reveal him to be a ruthless criminal. The various nuances of the chase are well-plotted and logical, and there's a strong sense of forward movement within the narrative as the stakes continue to rise and the players rally into more and more direct conflict.

We haven't gotten into character yet, but let me mention that it's vitally important that the audience have a character with whom they can identify and sympathize. I'm not sure who that's supposed to be here, since Chelsea is so obnoxious, and Marco is psychotic. I thought perhaps the prince, but he doesn't appear until near the end. Something to think about as you continue to develop this. Also, I didn't understand the ultimate twist about the transfer of holdings going to the prince. Are we to understand that he was behind this whole thing? That's a rhetorical question. Don't answer me here - answer me in the story.

Good work!
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crAZRick
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Re: crAZRick, Plotting Basics -- Writing Exercise

[ Edited ]
thanks for the feedback, Daniel. I'm sure if I carry on with this storyline in future exercises, I'll develop something worth relating to in some of the characters. The instructions were pretty basic and vague, wide open, so I just plotted around the character I made up for the 'pre-date ritual scene'; he was dark and mysterious, probably evil, so figured heavily in my plot, even is Chelsea comes off as 'the star'

I don't know about who will be redeemed in the end, if anyone.
Not like any of our ideas are likely to see any light or life outside of this little club, so I just consider it practice for the next batch of rejection slips....

thanks for reading and reviewing. I'll try to do even better with the next exercise!

:smileyhappy:

Message Edited by crAZRick on 03-21-200710:38 PM

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Ian
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Ian
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Re: crAZRick, Plotting Basics -- Writing Exercise

This is a perfect example of how everyone is different and you have to find what works for you. It's clear that a more detailed outline is what works for you craz and it is wonderful. Very clear path that even begins to define characters.

I consider outlines as a barebones guide that helps me get from one portion of the story to the other. And, since this is an initial outline I'm far more to the point since it is the very opening stages of my writing process. See, there is no wrong here, only what's right for the individual writer.

I've had a lot of people ask why I don't find outlining constrictive. Many writers believe that an outline sucks the creativity out of their writing. If I have a point saying, "Joe's attempted assassination" I leave myself wide open to whatever possibilities may arise as I write and it allows me to create based on this one rib (and character sheets, defining major roles, goals/motivations/conflicts...).

The only reason I bring up these differences is because I don't want others to think that there is only one way to write an outline. Find what works best for you. Kudos to you Craz on finding what works for you - very well done.

Cheers,
Ian
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crAZRick
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Re: crAZRick, Plotting Basics -- Writing Exercise

I have found both to be true; at times, I have needed a structured outline in order to visualize the endgame and all the various twists it will take to get me there, whether or not the writing stays true to the outline is another matter. Other times, I find that, as you have suggested, creating the outline, seeing the endgame laid out and played out without actually having to suffer thru writing it out in detail does tend to suck the life out of the idea, as if, once I have conquered the plot even in outline form, I find it hard to jump in and hash out all the details...

... so, it's tricky to decide if I want to outline or just wing it.
I would guess that, in the cases where the outline spoils the mood to write the details, maybe the story is so well-worn, cliched, and derivative, it may not be worth exploring further any way??
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danielnoah
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Re: crAZRick, Plotting Basics -- Writing Exercise

Ian, thanks for sharing your thoughts about outlines. It's true that many writers find outlines to be anathema to creativity; however, in my experience this is true mostly in fiction, where narrative tends to be more fluid and less structured. Screenplays, on the other hands, are highly structured, which is why the vast majority of screenwriters work from outlines. Sometimes very bare bones, sometimes more detailed, like Rick's. I bring this up not to challenge you - because, as you said, it's whatever works for you - but out of curiosity. Do you find that you're able to meet the stricter structural requirements of a screenplay without an outline to guide you?
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crAZRick
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Re: crAZRick, Plotting Basics -- Writing Exercise

before I knew 'the rules' of screenplay structure, such as the 30 60 30 Act Structure Rule or the Sights and Sounds Rule, I would just write, including my own versions of director notes, camera moves and shot angles, fill in as much detail as I saw in the movie in my mind, fill pages and tell the story as vividly as it played out in my head... apparently, that sort of thinking is utter crapola when it comes to 'true screenwriting' so I have had to 'dumb-it-down'

I'm still not sure if I can get thru a screenplay draft and make it fit the structural requirements according to 'the rules' whether I use an outline as a guide or just write as it comes to me.

I do know that the couple of screenplays I had completed before knowing the rules and requirements came in at 80 - 100 pages after my first drafts, crappy as they may be. Also, I have written a few screenplays for 1-hour TV shows (teleplays??) which come in at around 40 pages per hour. So, by my reckoning, I'm hitting pretty close to the mark as far as length and story structure go, if not quite up to par as far as specifics of detailing and 'true screenplay form' may be comcerned.

(the stuff I have completed are my personal versions of copyrighted things, sequels to movies, and my version of 9 eps of a fresh season of a current TV hit... so, as usual, nothing marketable for me!! AGRH!)
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Ian
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Ian
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Re: crAZRick, Plotting Basics -- Writing Exercise

Hey Daniel,



danielnoah wrote:
Do you find that you're able to meet the stricter structural requirements of a screenplay without an outline to guide you?




I can't write anything, not a short story, an article, a novel or a screenplay, without an outline. I'm a structure hound. I hug structure and buy it flowers. Syd Field was my God when he introduced me to his paradigm. I use it as one of my first steps.

You're absolutely right when you make the distinction between novelists and screenwriters - I've only heard the outline-saps-my-creativity complaint from novelists. I've written both and the same structure applies. And, my need for an outline is the same.

The only reason I mentioned the difference between Rick's example and my own is that new writers tend to believe what they see. If a thick outline is what they see, then that's the 'rule'. I wanted to point out that in this exercise you can get away with a thin, bare bones outline. It is the beginning, where the process starts.

I just checked on outline I did for a script I wrote on the Lattimer Massacre of 1897. It was 7 pages long in point form (117 page script). Remember, that was the final outline and the one I used as I was writing. So, when I would finish a scene I'd look ahead in my outline and make adjustments to it. This was, as the script was, a work in progress. And, this was not my initial outline. That outline was a page long, if that. It was based on the paradigm and described my opening, first plot point, mid point, second plot point and resolution. It grew to seven pages.

Rick, good for you on the attempt. I bought Syd Field's Screenwriter's workbook sometime in the eighties. I'd read it a dozen times and made a few failed attempts at a script. Wasn't until my second wife found it, and ask me if I'd written a screenplay, that I decided to go full out. Took me a long while but I did it. Daniel has some great stuff here that will guide you (and me on my next script), to the promised land - a complete screenplay.

Daniel, thanks for mentioning Triggerstreet, I'd forgotten all about it. I decided to join and have received some great crits. Seems my formatting is from the dark ages and I have some work to do. I caution new writers that the critiques on Triggerstreet are not sugar-coated. I've had editors chewing on me for years so my skin is thick. If you join, be prepared for some stark, honest, harsh comments.

Sorry for hijacking your thread Rick.

Cheers,
Ian
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crAZRick
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Re: crAZRick, Plotting Basics -- Writing Exercise

HEY! someone besides me and the mod posting!!


HIJACK AWAY! if that's what it takes!

maybe should post random thoughts, musings and helpful advice attached to other people's posts, just to activate the email alert to get folks checking back into this place, and getting some activity sprouting around here again!?

Last week, I wrote a brief 1-page outline for a screenplay idea, and this week (actualy 4-work days later,) I'm up to almost 30 pages, or a complete Act 1!! still basically just writing, but, in this case, te outline tends to help keep some level of focus. So, YAY! outlines!! :smileyvery-happy:
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Ian
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Ian
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Re: crAZRick, Plotting Basics -- Writing Exercise

Here I go hacking in again.

I'm assuming that this exercise is meant to start the process of outlining. For me, the outline is a road map with major points along the way as guides to where I'm going. If you look at my plotting basics example you'll see that each of the five points corresponds to a key point (at least in my process) in the script.

Intro: Joe loads his pants with his famous 'sock gun' for the job.

Plot point I: Joe meets Natasha at the bar - gets his flirt on.

Midpoint: Natasha eludes Joe's assassination attempt and in his haste to escape is captured by a rival organization.

Plot point II: Natasha realizes that Joe has absconded with her microchip. She risks everything to rescue him.

Resolution: Joe and Natasha run away to Minsk where they are married. They honeymoon in Prague and as they kiss at the hotel room window, we see them through a sniper's scope.

This is how I start every project - after flushing out the main idea of course. There is so much more as Daniel will attest to. But, we have to start somewhere. This is my starting point. It works for me. This would be my absolute bare bones outline. From here I'd start to flush out the story and add points between to help arc from one to the other. Plus, it looks like we're going to be looking at character next and that plays a big part in outlining as well. Really looking forward to Million Dollar Baby. Whoo hoo.

I will always tinker. If I can add to the way I do things or find a new way of flushing out a story or mapping it or whatever, I'm all eyes and ears.

Way to go Rick! Keep it going.

Cheers,
Ian
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crAZRick
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Re: crAZRick, Plotting Basics -- Writing Exercise

believe it or not, the 6 points in my outline are what I consider my 'bare-bones' for this particular tale; they are the result of my first-draft attempt to outline a plot containing the character I invented in the 'pre-date ritual' character description. Absolute minimum of thought and effort went into the construction of the various plot-points in this outline; imagine what damage I could do if I really put my mind to it!?

-muahahahahahahahaaa!-

(now, I must learn to use my powers for Good...) :smileywink:
I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
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