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!

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Sep 16, 2012
by: Jen

This was very helpul, thanks!

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