Yesterday afternoon, I attended a workshop at the Y-City Writers Conference given by Donna MacMeans on the W-Plot. I had heard about the W-Plot before, (and even blogged about it) but until I heard Donna talk about it- it had not really clicked. As she was speaking I could see where my story was going wrong. Which story you ask? All of the longer ones. I believe that I as a pantser can actually use the W-Plot to help with my story.
As a pantser, my story usually unfolds on its own as I write. However, this often leaves plot holes or the timeline gets messed up.
A. Normal World- Hook, What's your character like now? (Rooting Interests: Empathy, Admiration traits and Humanistic traits.)
B. Inciting Incident: The action that launches the story into a downward spiral. This should take place about 10% of the way into your story.
C. Things get worse.
D.The first turning point (Crossing the threshold, change of plans) The character may do this reluctantly. You should be 25% of the way into your book.
E. Enemies and Friends - Your character learns things he/she will need to know to survive. Things they are running from comes back.
F. Point of No Return- Whatever happens at this juncture will change the protagonist and they can never be who they were at the beginning. This is about half-way through your story.
G. Things begin to fall apart.
H. The Big Black Moment-All appears doomed until one character sacrifices for another. (75% of the way through your story.
I. Return with the Elixir- This is the struggle to recover from the BBM. Loose ends are tied up in this chapter(s). Resolve inner conflict. We need to see how the events of the book changed them.
J. Happily-ever-after resolution/epilogue. The satisfactory conclusion or "slow curtain."
I believe if I go through Twilight Dance and John Dunham's Diary using these steps, I will find where the novels went wrong.
Here are some W-Plot Links