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Nov 23, 2012

Update on NaNoWriMo #23 - From Outline to Draft

I thought I would share how I am doing with the multiple Outlining methods I mentioned during the earlier Tips. I've used all of them. Some I can't show today, such as the Sticky-Note Outline, because I haven't taken a photo of my Sticky-Note notebook yet. (I will try to do that over the next couple of days.) However, I'll show how I went from Beat Sheet to Detailed Outline to Draft.

Here's the Beat Sheet template I used (with 15 beats):

Act I:

1. Opening conflict.
2. Protagonist is shown in daily life, before transformation
3. Opportunity for change.
4. Resistance to the opportunity.
5. Point of No Return—Opportunity Accepted.

Act II:

6. Entering the New Situation.
7. Meeting Friends, Enemies or Romance.
8. Problem Brings Them Together.
9. Problem Drives Them Apart.
10. Crisis Hits

Act III:

11. Terrible Secret Revealed or Attack Starts
12. All Seems Lost
13. Self-Sacrifice or Symbolic Death
14. Final Showdown
15. Conclusion (Wedding Bells, Award Ceremony, Pile of Bodies or Ride into Sunset)

When I moved to a 12 Chapter structure, it meant that some beats would share a chapter. Not surprisingly, the order of the beats also wiggled a bit in execution. Of course, that's fine. Also notice that I switched from Three Acts to Four.

Here's the new Beat Sheet:

Chapter 1 – School Spirit [Opening conflict – Meeting the Romance - Opportunity for Change -  Resistance to the opportunity] 
Chapter 2 – Myron, Leth & Drake [Protagonist in daily life – Meeting friends]
            Chapter 3 – Snow in Hell California [Point of No Return - Opportunity Accepted.]

            Chapter 4 – School Bus of Love [Entering the New Situation]
            Chapter 5 – Pep Rally [Meeting friends - Problem Brings Them Together.]
Chapter 6 – Coronation [Problem Drives Them Apart.]
Chapter 7 – Fight [Problem Brings Them Together.]
Chapter 8 – Key [Crisis hits]
Chapter 9 – Ghulinom [Terrible Secret Revealed]

Chapter 10 – Tartarus [All Seems Lost]
Chapter 11 – Trick [Self-Sacrifice & Symbolic Death]
Chapter 12 – Treat [Final Showdown / Conclusion]

Next, I expanded the Beat Sheet to block out the scene by scene outline. Again, you can see that I varied the structure of this outline to meet the specific needs of this book. Since the book is first person, keeping track of PoV was not a big issue for me here as it is in my Unfinished Song books.

Also, I don't really need to remind myself about having a Hook and a Cliffhanger, it's fairly internalized by now. (In the revision stage, I'll check my scenes again just to make sure each is as strong as it can be.) Instead, I simply listed the scenes within each chapter. These scenes may or may not be separated in the draft.


LOCATION: Darkgate High School, Ghulinom

SCENE 1 - Ghulinom; Darkgate High School; Gate
Brandon arrives at a maximum-security facility…his high school. He is feared and respected because everyone, even the armed guards thing he is a drug dealer.

SCENE 2 - Ghulinom, Darkgate High School; Math Class
His “DUST” is really Magic Dust, which he keeps in a thermos. It’s one of 3 things his mother left him before she died. While he waits for geometry to start, he wraps a bindle of Dust and puts it in his sock. Someone in a black trench coat trips over him and is so frightened that he runs off.

Class begins. MR. ARKANE, the teacher, a demon begins to say odd things about planes and dimensions. Brandon looks up and meets his black eyes, and realizes that Arkane is speaking telepathically…also that he can’t look away.

Until his shoe comes alive and starts eating his foot.

SCENE 3 - Earth; Cleargate High School; Quad
Brandon rushes out into the quad where he reaches into his thermos for Dust…but it’s empty. All he has left is the Key left to him by his mother. Desperate, he grabs it, and it sends him to another dimension: Earth. At first he thinks he’s spirit-walking, but then he realizes he’s on Earth in the flesh.

A kitten leaps into his arms, followed by a beautiful blonde who says, “Hand over the cat. It’s needed in a murder investigation.” She is CLARE. She sees that he’s green (to his horror) but thinks he’s wearing a costume for Spirit Week.

Three more humans arrive: DAMIAN, tall, dark and handsome, who possessively puts his arm around Clare’s waist; TIFFANY, who is dressed like a Christmas present, and a third girl who says the cat his hers.  But when Brandon hands her the cat, he realizes she’s a ghost…and the other three realize he can see ghosts…just as they can. Clare explains her family are Ghulstrykers, with an Ancestral Weapon to fight ghosts. A ghost walks through her and she blows his head off.  Because of that, they invite him to join them in the library to discuss the murder.

SCENE 4 - Earth; Cleargate High School; Library
In the library, Clare explains that the ghost WALIDA ABOUDI was killed by another ghost, DORCAS LYNCH, the vengeful victim of a Homecoming prank. To draw the ghost out, Clare wants to run for Homecoming, but isn’t sure how to go about it. (Tiffany says she would, but as an immortal, it wouldn’t be fair.) Brandan says bribery works and experiments with the Key to make a candy with her name. When he makes one candy with her name on it, he's pleased with himself and shows it to her.

SCENE 5 - Earth; Cleargate High School; Quad
Screams outside. They rush to find a rain of candy with “Clare & Brandon” on them. Clare is humiliated. Brandon says he didn’t do it; maybe it’s a Halloween Miracle. Or maybe, he thinks, that Key is a lot more powerful than I realized. Except... he never would have put his own name on the candy.

Clare is angry. Tiffany tells Brandon he would be better for her than Damian. Damian shows up and Tiffany seems frightened of him. 

But Brandon freaks out when he thinks about being with Clare. He’s not good for her. Brandon suddenly wonders what he’s doing there. 
A student walks by and Clare casually kills him. Brandon is horrified but she explains the student was actually a spirit who didn't belong on Earth. Brandon realizes this applies to him every bit as much...and Clare is right. He doesn't belong.
How could he have thought he could go back to Earth? He decides to go home to Ghulinom where he belongs.

 Tomorrow I'll show some samples of my Rich Outline vs Draft.

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