So here I am, facing down NaNo in just five short days. I completed my plot outline, the structure of which I share below, and am going to be fleshing it out a bit more so I feel ready to jump in on November 1. Last week I shared the tools I was using to create an outline that would work for me. Most of the outline is straight from Michael Hauge’s Six Stage Story Structure for screenplays because it worked so well for this novel. You’ll also see K.M. Weiland‘s pinch points added in and I plan to review her books after NaNoWriMo.

BTW, in the The Hero’s Two Journeys: Storytelling Secrets for Screenwriters, Novelists, Playwrights, and Fiction Writers with Michael Hauge and Chris Vogler (streaming video, but also available as DVDs), they also cover the inner journey of the character(s). I plugged this in as well in italics below. You can find out more about the character arc (Identity vs. Essence) here.

For the first round I focused on the outward plot points, but could tell where my character would be in her arc as I went through the stages. These next few days I will flesh out the character arc while trying to drill down a little more with the plot so I have a lot to work with during NaNoWriMo.

Denise’s Plotting Outline Points

You can get more details on the stages and points on Hauge’s post.

Stage I

Setup: Ordinary world/character intro

Turning Point #1: “Opportunity.” Something happens that creates a desire in the MC.

Stage I Character – Living fully in “Identity”

Stage II

“New Situation”: Adapting to new situation. Finding out rules, etc.

Turning Point #2: “Change of Plans.” Something transforms new situation into a specific, visible desire. Main character begins pursuing it.

Stage II Character Arc – Glimpses living in “Essence”

Stage III

“Progress”: Plan/strategy seems to be working, but there is still conflict.

Pinch Point #1
Reminder of the story’s antagonist and/or his/her power.

Turning Point #3 (Midpoint): “Point of No Return.” Have to keep going, no turning back. Committed or recommitted to goal.

Stage III Character Arc – Vacillates between Identity and Essence
(moving towards Essence without leaving Identity)

Stage IV

“Complications and Higher Stakes.” Becomes more difficult aand more important to accomplish the goal.

Pinch Point #2
Reminder of the story’s antagonist,
antagonist ups the game.

Turning Point #4: “Major Setback.” “All is lost,” but character can’t give up.

Stage IV Character Arc:
Fully in Essence, but reverts one final time

Stage V

“Final Push.” Gives everything to achieve goal.

Turning Point #5: “Climax.” Goal resolved for better or worse.

Stage V Character Arc:
Returning fully to Essence 

Stage VI

“Aftermath.” See main character living new life.

Stage VI Character Arc:
Transformed existence 

Maybe this will help you in your own novel planning! My next posts will be about my NaNo progress and experience.

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