I’m working on a series on pacing.  You can see other posts in the series here.

I just spent the previous post in the series ripping apart the Hero’s Journey, or at least the fact that it’s not the end-all, be-all that some writers make it out to be.

But if you’ve spent the last umpteen years memorizing and internalizing the Hero’s Journey and it’s not all that’s out there, what is?

I’m going to skip over the content of various plots so we can focus on just the form for now.

We touched on this in the Amontadillo posts: you can add different elements to a plot in order to fill it out or strip it down, as the story demands.

What are these elements, if they’re not things like “the mentor” or “moment of death”?

  • Beginning/Setup.
  • Setting.
  • Character/Character arcs.
  • Try/fail cycles.
  • Backstory.
  • Demonstration.
  • Summary.
  • Reversals/plot twists.
  • Subplots.
  • Spinning wheels.
  • Climaxes.
  • Endings/Wrapups.

A lot of these are somewhat arbitrary; you can always rename them, remove them, or add more.  You get to build the structure that you want to build–and you can build new tools, consciously or otherwise, in order to get that done.

Which ones do you use for any given plot, though?

This is something that goes beyond the scope of the series.  I will talk a little bit about beginnings, so you can see an example.  And then I’m going to need to start wrapping up.

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