Friday, December 23, 2011
Tina's Holiday Miracle
Recently I had a miraculous writing experience that I'd like to share with you.
(Vince, put your fingers in your ears.)
One of the best ways to plot is of course the synopsis.
Contrary to popular belief, the synopsis is not just for the aspiring writer or the contest entrant. And no dears, it doesn't go away.
At a certain point in your publishing career you will no doubt be submitting proposals (three chapters and a synopsis) instead of full manuscripts.
In fact there are many of you who are such good plotters (put your hands down) that you probably sell on a synopsis. And to those of you who sell on a blurb, and will contradict this post, well, I don't want to hear about it. But let's do lunch. You're paying.
I admit, I am accustomed to skating by on a short shallow synopsis. Recently a long detailed, possibly even USEFUL synopsis was required.
Imagine my dismay.
What I discovered during the process is that it's all about timing the pain.
Sure I can suffer the pain, the angst, the insecurity on a daily basis as I write my character led plotless story (for weeks at a time), or I can whittle it down to two maybe three days of intense pain and suffering and be done with it by writing a long synopsis first.
My message to you is that you too can write a long synopsis aka PLOT.
I admit the angels singing the Hallelujah Chorus as I plotted were quite illuminating. (I heard Vince's voice in there as well.)
So today I present :
Tina's Guide To Writing Your Synopsis Using Michael Hauge's 6 Stage Plot Structure.
This is my down and dirty translation meant only to persuade you to come over to the dark side. A visual of the 6 Stage Plot Structure is available here.
First the visible goal or external plot structure:
Stage 1 : Set Up
Show the hero/heroine in their ordinary world. (Often this step is skipped or combined with Turning Point 1 in a romance)
Turning Point 1: Opportunity
This is not the story goal, it is simply a new opportunity, often geographical.
Hauge emphasizes that if the story goal presents too soon it cannot carry the entire book. AKA sagging middle.
(Which creates:) Stage 2: New Situation
Here the hero/heroine begins to scope out the rules in the new situation. The new situation will create the Change of Plans.
Turning Point 2: Change of Plans
The new situation now transforms into the visible story goal. Hauge is very emphatic that you must have a visible goal or you cannot arrive.
Stage 3: Progress
Small conflicts are overcome or delayed. But then the conflicts or obstacles become more and more difficult.
Turning Point 3: Point of No Return
This is the point at which the hero/heroine realize they are fully committed to the goal.
Stage 4: Complications & Higher Stakes
To quote Michael Hague:"Two things happen with full commitment
1. It becomes more difficult to accomplish the goal
2. It becomes more important to accomplish the goal
The choices are bad or bad.
Turning Point 4: Major Set Back
This is the point at which the reader thinks all is lost.
Stage 4: Final Push
Because all is lost the hero/heroine must do or die and give everything to one last final attempt to reach the goal.
Turning Point 5: Climax
The moment of achieving the visible goal.
Stage 6: Resolution or Aftermath
Often depicted as an epilogue, or a scene showing the new life for the hero/heroine. And of course in a romance this is the H-E-A. Happily-Ever-After.
You'll notice that on the MovieJive visual of the Hague plot structure they list the inner and outer journey. That translates to the inner and outer conflict.
Internal conflict is man's internal issues often referred to as the character arc.
External conflict is man versus nature or man.
Hague calls the internal journey (or internal conflict) the journey "From Identity to Essence" and discusses this journey in detail in the Hero's Two Journeys CD and DVD.
Here is the down and dirty on the Internal Journey according to Hauge:
Stage 1: Living fully in Identity and often in denial, with the confidence that life is fine just the way it is.
Stage 2: Glimpses Life in Essence
Hero gets a peek at living in their essence.
Stage 3: Moving Towards Essence Without Leaving Identity
New situation-the hero starts to accept the possibility of his essence and starts to pursue his longing.
Stage 4: Fully In Essence But Reverts One Last Time
Fearful to leave Identity completely. Frightened by the internal conflict they return to Identity one last time
Point of no return leads to:
Stage 5: Living Fully in Essence
Fully vulnerable in essence with everything to lose, the hero/heroine realize that their old self or Identity doesn't work anymore.
After the climax and aftermath:
Stage 6: Transformed Existence
The journey is complete and destiny is achieved as hero becomes true to himself.
You can see how these two journeys intertwine to bring you an evolved, complex and interesting plot. (By the way, for a more detailed description of the Hauge methodology check out the Inscription blog here.)
The next step in this miraculous plotting miracle is to fill in the blanks for the 6 stages of internal and external conflict above using both your hero and heroine's information. Then transfer to narrative to created a synopsis. Viola!!
To learn the big picture on Michael Hauge's Six Stage Plot Structure I highly recommend you purchase The Heroes Two Journey's DVD or CD. (Click here for a sneak peek.) I am a visual/audio learner and if you are too you will find this to be a total bang for your buck.
In fact I think this writing tool is so indispensable I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is and giveaway a copy of the CD version, to one a blog commenter. (Winner announced in the Weekend Edition of course).
However as always we offer this disclaimer in Seekerville: No one technique is WRITE or RIGHT for everybody.
So tell me, did you hear angels like I did?
What works for you?
Since it's Friday, and the last full shopping day before Christmas it is going to be a slow day. If we have more than 100 unique comments (no spamming please) today I will throw in a second copy of the Michael Hague CD. Comments are cut off at 12 midnight EST (tonight) in order to be ready for the Weekend Edition.
Merry Christmas from me to you!