Better understanding of the 8 Plot Outline steps Please!

by Tommie
(Belton Tx)

Question: So I loved how you were really a BIG help on my last question so I have some more!


But these will kind of all be about your 8 steps to a solid Plot Outline.

So I have my Story Goal: She is a hopeless romantic, trying to find love before she kills herself.

You have given me the 8 elements but I seem to have MORE trouble with coming up with these and understanding them also: Cost, Requirement and Prerequisites.

I keep re-reading those, and yet it doesn't help, could you possibly help me understand them a bit better?

It would help so much! Thank You!

Answer: Let's take these in turn...

Requirements: Since your Goal is "to find love," the question here is what is required for her to find love? Or, to put it another way, what event or events will move her closer to that goal? Meeting the right guy? Going on an adventure with him? Spending the night together? You may have to brainstorm answers until something clicks.

There could be one big requirement or several little ones. The idea is that each time she meets one of the requirements, the reader will feel she is getting closer to achieving the Goal.

Prerequisites: These are the junior partner to Requirements. Prerequisites are things that, as they are accomplished, make it easier to meet the requirements. For instance, if a Requirement is for her to go on a romantic weekend with someone, the Prerequisite might be winning a trip for two to Club Med, mistakenly think he is gay (and therefore a safe escort) etc. Again, you may need to brainstorm this until you find the Prerequisites that fit your story.

Cost: This is the price she must pay for pursuing the goal. The fact that she is willing to endure the Costs shows the reader that the Goal must be important to her.

For instance: what discomfort or unpleasantness is she willing to suffer to find love? The humiliation of using an online dating service? Sweating in a gym in order to loose 10 pounds? Putting up with an airport strip search? Giving away her 6 cats?

Sometimes it helps to remember that the 8 elements come in opposing pairs. So if you've decided on your Preconditions, asking what the opposite of them might be can help you find ideas for Prerequisites.

For instance, if you know your Forewarnings have to do with your heroine making preparations to commit suicide, perhaps the Requirements could be her love interest preparing for a romantic date or her mother setting aside money for the heroine's wedding.

Obviously, these are just examples. You must find the events that are right for your unique story.

Comments for Better understanding of the 8 Plot Outline steps Please!

Click here to add your own comments

Sep 16, 2012
Thanks
by: Jen

This was very helpul, thanks!

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Plot Invite.


 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook


NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles


"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards



"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero