This Bold Cusp

Here are the plots I like and may do something with:

A Weird Semblance Thereof (http://1000days.douglasblaine.com/20110105/a-weird-semblance-thereof/)
I’ll probably ransack this for the tidbits of new characterization I provided for Connor’s mother and some of the mystery there. The plot itself is trash.

The Fairy Plot
(http://1000days.douglasblaine.com/20110106/the-fairy-plot/)
This one puts some of the plot pieces together better than the others but still needs work. I aimed low for the Faerie cliché rather than tried to uncover something new.

Grumphook and Gertrude
(http://1000days.douglasblaine.com/20110107/grumphook-and-gertrude/)
This one I love for how well the pieces fell into place as I conjured it. I also love it for the title and the sense that Cathy Bates would be great as Gertrude.

Tempting Henry
(http://1000days.douglasblaine.com/20110201/tempting-henry/)
This turned out to have more twists than any other plot I came up with. The trouble was that I didn’t do a good job of getting the proper actions to match with the right events.

I can probably keep everything I wrote, but I need to add more and stir better.

Ten Beads for Iffan
(http://1000days.douglasblaine.com/20110202/ten-beads-for-iffan/)
I’m glad I revived this one. Now I have a piece I can shred and recreate.

The Transformation of a Honga Rider
(http://1000days.douglasblaine.com/20110203/the-transformation-of-a-honga-rider/)
I think this plot is workable enough, but I think I was too timid with the conflict. Set it on fire for better results.

Red Roy
(http://1000days.douglasblaine.com/20110204/red-roy/)
Wow. This is NOT what Red Roy originally was to be. It’s better and more managable with just one main character. Clean it up and rearrange the scenes I said I had in my head.

Tritti’s Ascension
(http://1000days.douglasblaine.com/20110210/trittis-ascension/)
The big pieces of this work well enough as captured. The juice is in the interpolating scenes.

Your Descent
(http://1000days.douglasblaine.com/20110211/your-descent/)
Close, but no cigar. This isn’t too bad in it’s own right, but it needs to jive with the Tritti thread if it’s going to be it’s own true story (not that it has to be, but it could).

The three from round one split two against one for rehashes and a brand new. Gertrude and Grumphook is the only one of nine that is blue sky new. Hmmm.

Interestingly, February coughed up twice as many plots I’d like to return to than January did despite my condemnation of my efforts in the second round. My best reason for that is that five of the six tackle plots I’ve long wanted to come back to plotting. At least now I have a sketch to fix up. The one other deals with material I’ve had stowed away in my brain for some time. Those six make good on several implicit promises.

I easily have enough here to work with the rest of this year—and more. I should promise a strategy. I should commit right here and right now. I should tell you that I’ll focus on these to the exclusion of all else. I should say 1000 Days is locked down and is no longer taking submissions. Instead I’ll leave you hanging and go sleep on this bold cusp.

500 words on day 681

11 Days in February

I discovered why I wrote 10 plots for 11 days. I started on plot ten in the book which means I had eleven to work with during February. Which means that either I duplicated the last plot I did in January—which I don’t recall—or I only gave you nine plots in January which is possible but seems rather obviously egregious. I usually avoid obvious egregiousness.

My work here in February does not impress me. It gave me a backbone to work from and for that I am happy, but I fought it or blew it off at most opportunities. I may have had two plots worth coming back to and a third worth coming back to with vengeance.

Most of the plots offered up felt limp. Tobias’ elucidation of all twenty never held scads of concrete details to work with when envisioning his master plots. The later ten fared worse than the former. Sure, that is an excuse. I could have cinched up the strap accepted the challenge with lighter heart.

All that said, I don’t think that these first ten (eleven) days of February were wasted. I did write every day for one. I did plot every day. I did ingrain Story Fixer’s structure every day. I do feel like I benefited each and every day even if those benefits are not evident to you. Even if I can’t effectively codify them here. Mainly I learned to push through a scene to get to a whole plot. To get to (no matter how flimsy) an ending through (no matter how sparse) conflict. Secondarily, I learned to increase the conflict. I didn’t excel at defining the stakes. And I suppose it was worth it for me to briefly explore plot archetypes I might not otherwise have been drawn to in the past. So not a waste.

I should revisit these plots in the future, and I should do it soon. I should put the main points on note cards, fill in the gaps, and arrange till I’m pleased. I should take those cards and those plots which please me, and I should fucking write a story.

356 words on day 679

Your Descent

I must have started a day late or missed a day or doubled up because it’s the Eleventh and I’m on my last of ten plots. There is no time to sort that out now though, only time to write on.

Tritti from The Shany thread stepped up yesterday for the Ascension plot; I think You might be a fun volunteer for the descending corollary.

Theme – Descension

Setup – You are hired to impede the delivery of a [McGuffin] to the Adroit Supplicant (just made that name up) in ah’Taconschientee.

Hook – You meet with a shadowy figure of power you suspect is a demi-god; the meet is odd since clients of any caliber rarely engage you directly. Additionally, the figure forgives you.

Plot Point 1 – A usually open informant proves uncharacteristically reticent; you stoop to toture to gain the location and time of the hand off.

Pinch 1 – Tritti implores you not to kill her or to block her delivery of the [McGuffin] to Adroit; she escapes and you tear up a market looking for her.

Mid-point Twist – You discover the man guarding Tritti is a demi-god, and the real threat to accomplishing the task you were hired for.

Pinch 2 – Tritti and Brother Gane block your efforts to get backup; you resort to black magic to increase your skill.

Lull – You speak to the Adroit Supplicant and blame him for your desperation.

Plot Point 2 – You decide the only way out is the way down; you vow to kill the demi-god expecting to die in the effort.

Conclusion – You do kill the demi-god; you do die in the effort.

Some of that’s a little squeezy, but I think I could work it out to make sense without significant overhaul. At least it’s a shit ton further along than I’ve been in the past with You or The Shanty thread.

319 words on day 678

Tritti’s Ascension

Yesterday when I was writing or thinking about that wretched Wretched Excess plot I spent some time looking up other’s lists of master plots. So far I’ve only collected them into my writing wiki and skimmed the contents. I find the variety interesting; I may employ some of them in future months.

My twenty master plots book wraps up with a bit of a cheat if you ask me. Tobias combines the chiral Ascension and Descension plots as if he were running out of paper to print his book and just now noticed how similar they are to each other. I don’t begrudge him the aggregation, but I would be less critical had he done the same with his other matched plots.

Anyhow. He contends the difference between these plots and others is the gradual nature of each, the protracted crescendo or decrescendo of the main character. The plots I find them similar to, Transformation and Wretched Excess, should be administered quickly and focus on the effect each change has on the character rather than drawn out and focusing on the character…or something like that.

Both Ascension and Descension rather an ultra-real charismatic character who can hold a reader’s attention and carry the whole plot.

Beat.

I keep thinking maybe a day with these plots in my head will turn them into something appealing by evening. I suspect I’d need to devote brain time to the effort to get anything out of it. Funny that.

I hope Tritti the Pilgrim from The Shanty thread helps me out here tonight.

Theme – Ascension

Setup – Tritti pilgrimages to ah’Taconschientee.

Hook

Plot Point 1 – Against tradition, Tritti decides to enter ah’Taconschientee to deliver the [McGuffin] Johnka gives her. She meets Brother Gane.

Pinch 1 – In the land-side market You attempts to kill Tritti. People she’s just met protect her with their lives.

Mid-point Twist – Johnka confesses to Tritti that he is a demi-god.

Pinch 2 – You kills Johnka but misses Tritti.

Lull – Tritti recovers from her wounds at Brother Gane’s monastary.

Plot Point 2 – Tritti inspires the monks to escort her back to ah’Taconschientee to complete the delivery.

Conclusion – Tritti fights off the folks she’s been battling and ultimately delivers the [McGuffin].

378 words on day 677

Wretched

You’re still waiting for me to come out and say, “I love this plot. Love, love, love it.” Today’s plot I like well enough, but I find the naming of it a bit in accurate. Wretched excess describes a situation in which a person of normal means finds themselves indulged with great bounty. That bounty could be love, companionship, adoration, money, resources, luck, or whatever, but they find themselves with an abundance of it. Then they discover who they really are.

The book’s author goes an entirely different direction which I’d describe as more Disgusting Extremes. A mundane character descends into a state where they’ll do just about anything in order to survive. The actions depart from the social norms so extravagantly that they are borderline beastial or alien.

I’ll have to remind myself what the happy ending and upsides to this interpretation are according to Tobias. Lovely. There doesn’t seem to be one.

Beat.

I thought about this off and on today. I didn’t really settle on anything good, so instead of hours of germination I’ve still got a cold keyboard.

Let’s see if I can work something humorous and timely and light.

Theme – Wretched Excess

Setup – It’s snowing and a man must shovel his driveway.

Hook – A cold-weather clad man stands on his front step wtih a snow shovel in hand; after he wipes the effects of a flurry of snow in the face from his face snow crashes down on him from the roof.

Plot Point 1 – Admiring his finished driveway he decides to shovel the sidewalk in from of his home as well.

Pinch 1 – So caught up in clearing the sidewalk he doesn’t notice new snow covering the driveway again until he’s at the end of the walk.

Mid-point Twist – After shoveling his way back up the sidewalk and the driveway he sees that the sun has melted his neighbor’s driveway without any human effort.

Pinch 2 – A snowplow comes by to clear the road out front and not only carves a huge wall of snow up onto his clean sidewalk and driveway but also hoses him down with slush (or maybe salt spary/anti-freeze).

Lull – Finally dug out from the snowplow he sips cocoa inside at his neighbor’s home. They remark on some of the irony and the lack of other neighbors shoveling their drives.

Plot Point 2 – So much time passes while at his neighbor’s the snow has returned and covered his drive a third time.

Conclusion – Maniacally shoveling through the snow a third and final time the day ends with the man collapsed on the front step huffing. He watches several neighbors pulling out of their warm garages and easily driving away in the light snow at the end of the day.

I’d say that kind of worked. At least it wasn’t Iago or alcohol. THis is a plot archetype I’d come back to find a different story instead.

486 words on day 676

Cole: A Singularity Story

I noticed the sensation of my head deep in a barrel with one hand alternating between scraping around and holding me up the first time I read this book. I’m realizing now why I don’t like some of these plots. I understand them as plots, but the author inconsistantly outlines each archetype. Rather than methodically analyze each plot and present a symbolic outline he book-reports a movie matching his idea of that plot. When he draws me into specific characters by name and situation the effort obscures the blueprint not elucidates it.

Sigh.

Theme – Discovery. Personal discovery not adventuring for treasure and glory.

Setup – Cole is everything you’d think a college student would be. Growing up, unsure about the future, trying to find a girlfriend, but wary of how to do any of those things.

Hook – After having a great night at a dorm sponsored end of semester bash, Cole discovers his well-meaning buddies bribed his date to go out with him.

Plot Point 1 – Cole determines to transfer schools so that he can clear the slate and find a girl without the risk of a setup, but he can’t leave till the end of the second semester without forfeiting most of his fees.

Pinch 1 – As the Spring Semester Bash approaches, Cole’s friends badger him about maybe being gay.

Mid-point Twist – Back home for Summer Break Cole meets a nice girl, Anna, working at the coffee shop he frequents. They hit it off.

Pinch 2 – Anna mentions to Cole that his mother encouraged her to befriend Cole because Mom worried he might be gay. Clearly he can’t find a girl on his own or worse.

Lull

Plot Point 2 – Cole accepts that he’s either gay and too scared to confront that situation or that he’s completely ineffectual at meeting girls and never will without help.

Conclusion – At a 10 year Homecoming Cole and friends gather for a BBQ at Cole’s home. Their married-with-kids lives contrast with his own single-guy life, but he’s comfortable with his choices.

I forced some of this into the plan I had before I wrote the Hook. Usually I save the hook for after or partly through rather than start with it populated. In this instance I populated it and immediately had a nearly different story to head down.

If I returned to this I’d examine the hook and either better craft it for leading into a more appropriate story or I’d redo the hook itself. Make these two parts match up better than they do.

431 words on day 675

A Conceptual Sacrifice

I did plot through the weekend. I wasn’t pleased with the themes of Love or Forbidden Love; I wasn’t pleased with the effort either. I didnt like some of these plots when I first read the book, and I still don’t like many of them. I’m bothered by that but don’t have time to really analyze that right now.

Theme – Sacrifice. The novel writing book references Casablanca—the movie. Eventually Tobias talks aboutA Tale of Two Cities.

Setup – Describe someone unlikely to sacrifice him or herself in a situation unlikey to generate a need for sacrifice. Sacrifice should have a hierarchical component that allows threshols of giving(up).

Hook

Plot Point 1 – Have main character make descision to change life which doesn’t at first appear to have sacrificial implications. Falling in love usually does the trick.

Pinch 1 – Tempt protagonist to abandon long held belief or put in position to make mini-sacrifice similar to one required to conclude PP2.

Mid-point Twist – Take away reward or benefit of descision made in PP1.

Pinch 2 – Sacrifice required in P1 resurfaces, but accepting doesn’t win back prize lost in MPT.

Lull – Reflecting on the sunk cost of minor sacrifice made in P2 and the loss of reward in MPT.

Plot Point 2 – Loss in MPT threatens to become permanent. Love cooled becomes love crushed; lover separated becomes lover dead.

Conclusion – Long held belief cast aside with no hope of redemption in order to protect reward’s integrity, but not reunite reward with protagonist.

Yes, conceptual—sorry about that. The effort was helpful to me despite it’s lack of specificity.

I see another version of this now that I’d not considered when I started. The protagonist could be sacrificing willingly all along the course of the plot thinking they’d be rewarded. Give a little to gain the prize; give a little more to gain it; give a lot to get it; give it all, but still get nothing in return. The sacrificer and the reward diverge throughout the story.

350 words on day 674