My next series is called the Mechanisms of Magic. It isn’t a medieval fantasy, but not quite steampunk. Anyway, I got about 40,000 words into the draft and the story just didn’t jell. I thought I might be suffering a bit of writer’s block.
I did a bit of surfing on writing and came across a YouTube video on the Seven Point Story Structure presented by Dan Wells, a paranormal/horror author. Eureka! I found that my story had run out of structure and had lost its way. I fiddled with all three of the stories planned in the series, using the technique, and found that I had a better handle on where the story headed.
As it turned out, there was a similar presentation on a variant of that structure at LTUE last week. So, I get to tweak the storylines yet again, since the variant offers a bit more latitude and I got a better understanding of how to use the technique to outline the stories. I can still do the scene outlines that I have been using to get my stories going, but those now have more purpose. The key element that I missed was the basic relationship of the main character to the story. The first part of the book should be about the main character reacting to the book’s primary issue. The midpoint is the event that converts the main character from being reactive to proactive. Along with the proactivity, the stakes in the try/fail cycles go up all the way to the end (Resolution).
My plots have generally been a bit more organic. I have the elements in the plots, but they aren’t as clear cut. Now with the structure, the primary plotting should be more crisp. It’s not a formula, but a structure. Where the plot twists and turns is still up to the author and the try/fail cycles are all created to match the particular story you are working on.