Red Roy

I’m not a fan of this one either as I predicted I wouldn’t be yesterday, but I do think I’ve come up with a good idea of how to work it as best I can.

Theme – Maturation

Setup – Darcy, a girl from Lawrence, Kansas, attends the University of Missouri as a nursing student. She is in a serious relationship with a young man from Virginia (he’s doesn’t appreciate her major). Neither can stay in Columbia for the summer, but neither can go to the other’s hometown (for some super valid sounding reason).

Hook – Darcy’s tearful good-bye to her college boyfriend who is returning the Virginia for the summer following Finals.

Plot Point 1 – Darcy decides she can’t spend the summer after her Sophomore year in college moping around her parents home; she joins a scout friend of hers at a summer camp in New Mexico as a camp counselor.

Pinch 1 – In a backcountry rockclimbing camp officially named Arroyo Rojo but affectionatly called ‘Red Roy’, a camper hanging a bear bag for the night slips on a rock and breaks his arm. Everyone turns to Darcy; she turns out to be so nervous as to almost worse than useless. Darcy quits her position at Red Roy, but the camp director convinces her to at least stay on at base camp in a role that won’t put her at risk of working with injuries.

Mid-point Twist – bushwhacking back to base camp for days-off, Darcy comes upon an advisor stumbling in the woods; he collapses and is unconcious before she can speak to him. She starts CPR.

Pinch 2 – Doctors arrive on scene hours later and pronounce the advisor dead.

Lull – Darcy talks with with her Red Roy friends around a campfire about the incident..

Plot Point 2 – bah!

Conclusion – I’m skipping to this part because I can’t stop the different scenes needed for all this from flooding in. I’m not sure how to organize them best to make this all work out or exactly how far back to Mizzou and Darcy’s boyfriend I need to go. If it’s maturation then is seems like I ought to get her back to school for the contrast, but i can’t figure out wear to put all the action just yet.

376 words on day 671

The Transformation of a Honga Rider

Allow me to begin with a bit of complaining. I never understood parts of this book I’ve got on plots because several sets of plots noted as distinct never struck me as such. Unfortunately I’ve hit a triple patch: metamorphosis, transformation, and maturation. I’ll forgive the literal interpretation of metamorphosis as maybe different than the other two, but I still read all three as a group meaning not much more than ‘the character changes in some way’. I suppose that Transformation is different from Maturation in the same way that girl becomes cheerleader is different from girl becomes doctor, but I think the differences are subtle.

I doubt I’ll be happy with tomorrow’s theme.

Theme – Transformation

Setup – Tyh is the 8th son of a nobody farmer; destined to be a nobody farmer himself. When apprentice honga rider Keena goes looking for help she tricks Tyh’s father into giving her Tyh.

Hook – Keena dragging Tyh into the honga pit to meet Bem and the Quartermaster.

Plot Point 1 – Tyh discovers he can telepathically communicate with the honga like a rider does and decides to find out how to become one.

Pinch 1 – a group of tyro riders catch Tyh interacting with a honga and beat him up for the audacity.

Mid-point Twist – Almost simultaneously Tyh learns he can communicate with all honga over nearly any distance and that other riders can’t.

Pinch 2 – Keena, Tyh’s sometime friend, sides with the trainer’s council against admitting Tyh to the rider program.

Lull – Tyh returns to his home; there he discovers he can’t settle for farming when he knows he should be a rider.

Plot Point 2 – Tyh returns to the honga pit to at least work out his days as a helper for the Quartermaster when the alarm for marching to war goes up.

Conclusion – sneaking into the battalion (or allowed, but as a supply line drudge) Tyh’s ability to communicate with all the hongas proves invaluable in saving the battalion from a rout.

That didn’t turn out as bad as I’d thought it would. I’m not sure I adhered to the concept of Transformation as well as I could have, but that could be worked out in the details not shown here.

380 words on day 670

Ten Beads for Iffan

When I started 1000 Days I thought I’d be pursuing work on some of my existing story thoughts. Early on a touched a couple but none seriously and none for long. Everything I did here after the first couple of months was new. Today I’m pulling up a story I’ve held for a long time but never written about or even alluded to here. There’s no reason for it; I just haven’t.

This story came to me during my Freshman year in college at the University of Kansas. A magazine, maybe Rolling Stone, had an article titled “The Selling of Tiffany”. The graphic that included the singer’s name used a block background which only highlighted the five internal letters of her name: ‘iffan’. From that I came up with the title “The Selling of Iffan”.

I don’t recall the order of what happened next, but I quickly had a second title and a second story in “Ten Beads for Iffan”. This story is the opener and “The Selling” is the closer in the couplet.

When I first read the next master plot in my book I thought it might have a figurative component, but the author insists on its literal definition. Iffan fits, and deserves to be plotted.

Theme – Metamorphosis

Setup – Iffan is cursed to live in the shadow of God’s love as a bat-like beast; his blood-lust drives him to kill. He tries to restrain his kills to just criminals. Initially I imagined he’d only speak in apposite but off beat song lyrics—like he’d taught himself to speak via a CD collection (probably wouldn’t do that now).

Meanwhile, a young boy from New Mexico packs up with his artist/photographer mother to go to New York and consequently get separated from her.

Hook – Iffan slays some hoods in a New York alley.

Plot Point 1 – Iffan mopes around New York blood-letting criminals and feeling sorry for himself when a little boy stumbles into the tail end of one of his killings. Despite his lust he’s able to restrain himself and shield the kid from the completed slaughter and from the potential beserker spill-over that would have Iffan killing the boy too.

Pinch 1 – Investigations by the police into the brutal vigilante slayings uncovers Iffan’s where abouts; they also see the boy Iffan’s been protecting. Iffan is forced to fly off with the boy to protect him from harm. The police quite rightly misinterpret this action.

Mid-point Twist – Iffan’s self-imposed moratorium on quenching his thirst comes to a violent end and the boy witnesses all of Iffan’s fury. He runs away.

Pinch 2 – Police find Iffan’s main hideout; there they discover evidence implicating him in the murder of an innocent and promoent NY politician/businessman. Before they were reluctant to put too much force into apprehending him, but now tht they know he killed an innocent they’re 100%. (lame I know).

Lull – Iffan confesses himself to a priest whom he’s about the slay for cliched reasons a priest would be need to be killed.

Plot Point 2 – Iffan finally finds the boy; rescues him from a bit of incidental peril. He resolves to return him to his mother even though it will mean getting caught most likely.

Conclusion – The cops are on him full time as he tries to return the boy to his mother. A helicopter chase through New York’s sky ensues and along the way Iffan proves himself to the boy as a good person. The cops shoot him up in a final capture scene. THe boy witnesses this and runs to Iffan’s side amidst the shooting to save him. He weeps for his friend’s immenant death and puts a beaded necklace around his neck. Through love and innocence (and 10 beads) Iffan reverts to his human form and dies peacefully. The cops discover him to be the prominent politician/businessman.

650 words on day 669

Tempting Henry

Son of a bitch, it’s February already. Which means it’s time again for my “10 Plots in 10 Days” fun.

Sure I scream and yell, but I had fun last month and expect to again this one. Grandstanding aside, I think this is the event to get me out of my cold induced doldrums. That’s right, I’m blaming my health for the crap I’ve written and posted and the crap I’ve written and not posted. Screw off.

A note about the format I follow for 10 Plots: I put the plot from Ronald B. Tobias’ “20 Master Plots and How to Build Them” down in the Theme slot. I am aware that a theme includes more than such a limited one-word scope, but I believe a theme develops during the writing of the story more than it does in the bare bones plotting, so instead of “Temptation leads to blah blah blah and ruin” my theme will simply be…

Theme – Temptation

I am desperate to avoid going meta on you here and talking about my temptations to do things other than write. WML.

Setup – A successful but lonely assassin, Henry, tries to meet other people like himself.

Hook – Obviously some characteristically establishing assassination.

Plot Point 1 – Henry has relatively begged his handlers for information on their other contractor, but they politely refuse. Left alone in an office (or something like that) he’s able to snap a grainy cell phone pic of names and assignments.

Pinch 1 – He rigs an online dating service to hook him up with one of the women on the list. She’s quite wary at their first dinner date and walks the check on him.

Mid-point Twist – Henry discovers all the people he thought were assassins were actually the marks. Which means on the list he was a mark!

Pinch 2 – While trying to do something plot-worthy Henry accidentally runs into his first dinner date and she’s feeling guilty about stranding him and comes on gushy. He falls for her, and needs to protect her.

Lull – Feeling safe in her arms in bed; they talk. After a bit, the conversation gets serious and then turns into a fight where she reveals…

Plot Point 2 – …she’s an assassin. OMG! Was he wrong about which side of the list was assassins and which side was marks? Twice?

Conclusion – They team up; avoid other shooters; make it back to the handlers’ office to confront them. And it all works out. Ta-da! I’ll need to think about this. I’m worried I’ve drifted well away from the Temptation theme and would like to pull that back in better. I’m also inclined to make the list a bit of a McGuffin here too, or a cross between a McGuffin and a Deus Ex Machina. But in a nice way.

477 words on day 668

January 10 Plots Debriefing

I said 10 plots in the first ten days. The first ten days of January concluded yesterday and the plot book was serving up Underdog—a tweaked repeat of yesterday’s Rivalry if you ask me. Initially I’d planned to do all ten this month, but this morning I’m less inclined.

Plotting this past week came easier than I’d expected it would. Adhering to the Storyfix checklist and phases motivated me to stab at my characters with real threats where in the past I’d been content to feign confusion concerning what befall them next. Certainly I’d need to go back to any of those plots to rework it if I expect to write from one, but at least now I have a skeleton to rework and an idea of the key scenes. I also have a beginning, middle, and mostly some ends. I’ve not had those three things all at the same time and in the correct order for quite some time on 1000 Days—if ever. Realizing I can do all that within a single day and for a sustained-ish period of time encourages me to do more. And to do more better.

I’m sure you read quite a bit of disdain into my notations of what master plot I would employ each day. You weren’t wrong; I was disdainful. Now done, I am glad I used that tool. I wouldn’t have come up with as much variety during the period as I did, nor would I have completed each day’s writing as quickly as I did had I not used those master plots. I would have struggled more to get the first scene down. Even still, when I read this book years ago I didn’t connect with many of the plots. I saw them as different stories—mostly unique—sure . But I didn’t then and don’t now recognize them all as master plots. For that designation I’d think I would feel an immediate sense of rightness about each; I’d gasp and say out loud, “Yes. Yes, of course. So obvious.”

Next month should be fun. I’ll have this first month under my belt and I’ll maybe give better thought to the plots I choose, better than, “Next?” This month, I’ll reacquaint myself with the plot checklist and analyze some of these plots to see where I went astray or fell short. Maybe I’ll take one and fill in the gaps a bit. Who knows?

I’m approaching my sesquiseptcentennial (only a partially made up word) and feel like I should do something special that day. But maybe that’s too much enthusiasm for numerology?

439 words on day 647

A Rocky Scholarship

Next up in the list is Rivalry. Reading the cliff notes on this one I realized half or more of the Rocky movies are about rivalry. The other half are about tomorrow’s master plot, Underdog. Or so I’d guess.

I think since it’s Monday I’ll just work from a boxing story.


Setup – Mark wins a boxing scholarship, but struggles to maintain the requisite grades to keep it while enjoying the fun on Freshman year at university.

Hook – Mark defends his Physics TA, Yuntao, against the bullying of some upperclassmen at a night club.

Plot Point 1 – Mark discovers that he and Yuntao both have eyes the same girl, and she seems to be hard pressed to make a definitive choice.

Pinch 1 – Yuntao sabotages a test Mark is studying for, but not in a directly ‘academically dishonest’ way. He regrets it too late to back out and Mark fails (or something serious) and is put on probation.

Mid-point Twist – Yuntao confesses to Mark and they argue about the betrayal. Mark decides to go it alone without his friend. He can fight and study; he’ll just knuckle down.

Pinch 2 – Despite semi-real effort on Mark’s part he flunks Physics. Because of this effort he’s been unable to spend time with Gabriella and thus Yuntao does spend time with her..

Lull – Christmas break back at home in…Nebraska. Mark spars with his farmer Dad. The old man tells him he should only try to change the things he can control and women ain’t one of them. He also iterates that Mark will have to pay for his own schooling if he loses the scholarship.

Plot Point 2 – During a friend-friend talk with Gabriella, she admits to preferring Mark over Yuntao, but having ‘chosen’ Yuntao due to his accessibility. She never really was that impressed with boxing.

Conclusion – After struggling between love and boxing, Mark chooses boxing and competes in the final match of the year. He wins; the referee, Susan, is impressed.

350 words on day 646

Riddle Me This

The book says Riddle (mystery). I did that somewhat yesterday, or only needed a little tweaking to get here from there. Maybe I’ll cheat and edit yesterday’s to highlight the riddle element. Maybe not.

Thinking…for a whole day. And still nothing. Let’s see if I can at least phone this in…


Setup – An old lady who write mystery novels finds herself in all kinds of crazy situations. This is one.


Plot Point 1 – Her agent dies. Before she can get another one she must find her (agent’s) killer.

Pinch 1 – OMG, really you’re reading this far in still?

Mid-point Twist

Pinch 2


Plot Point 2


128 words on day 645