Exercise 1: Triple-O Plotting
From Writer’s Digest
Objective, Obstacles, and Outcome
This exercise doesn’t have detailed instructions (it’s part of a larger workshop), but I didn’t mind. Since characters’ objectives shift during the course of a novel (and they might have more than one to start with), I found this really useful as a basic mapping tool. (Excel, anyone?) I have a tendency to overcomplicate my plots, so writing out every objective is a great way to see how/if they interact, as well as to decide what I can cut.
I also like being able to map out the outcomes this way. I love this version of the Story Arc diagram:
It so clearly shows that not every objective a character has ends in a win. Maybe the character fails, but that failure leads into the next obstacle, or maybe their objective changes slightly. Working on detailing out all of the characters’ objectives – no matter how small – really helps to pull all of that together.
I still have a lot of work to do to figure all of this out, so I’m looking forward to moving on to the other plot exercises I have lined up!
Define the Conflict(s)
From Iconoclastic Writer (#3)