I mentioned earlier that I’m starting my novel over from scratch. And this is a good thing. It is really because now I feel that I’ve written enough scenes, done enough character-exploring, and thought and talked about my story enough to know how it starts, continues, and ends. Mostly.
You’ve probably all heard of the Three Act Structure by now, (but if you’re new to writing and haven’t, check out this page for a good diagram of it) but have you heard of The Eight-Point Arc? Me neither. I found it at this page on the DailyWritingTips website. The article is a quick sum-up of The Eight-Point Arc in Nigel Watts’ book, Teach Yourself Writing a Novel, a book that I’ve now added to my shopping cart. (A cheaper, used version, thank you very much!)
I’ve tried breaking my story down using the traditional three act structure several times now, but I always get stumped. I think I finally realized during my last attempt (20 minutes ago…) that it’s possibly because I’m writing a YA novel, and not an adult novel and a YA novel’s structure tends to be a little simpler; less subplots, etc. (I should note here that I’m not saying a YA novel itself is simple. Not at all. In fact, YA novels deal with incredibly loaded subjects on a regular basis, for a target audience that is simultaneously jaded and innocent. Simple? Not even!)
I decided to try the Eight-Point Arc instead. I opened up my giant sketchpad, brought out my markers, and wrote out numbered bullets for each point in the Eight-Point Arc:
- The quest
- Critical choice
I won’t go into the breakdown of each point here; I’ll let you go to Ali Hale’s article on the DailyWritingTips site for that. But I’ll tell you, putting a piece of my story at each point proved to me that I have a fully-functional plot (with a newly revised climax I came up with just last night). Now my next step is to break down each point with sub-bullets so I know the pieces and scenes that will make up each bigger piece. I’m thinking that if this was a school paper, it would be both easier to write and far less interesting. This… This is the good stuff. A story out of my own head, plotted however I want (until an editor eventually gets ahold of it)… Definitely good and definitely fun.
Good writing, everyone!