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Plotting: The DVD Sleeve

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. You can comment here or there.

Previous posts: Raw Data, Ask the Questions, The Journey, Getting Stuck, Seek the Tone, Come Full Circle

This is something a mentor taught me a few years ago that helps set the foundation of structure into place. After stepping through the Emotional Toolbox once — recognizing the fact that I need to do it again for both characters — and brainstorming, I’m to the point, now, where I have a general feel for the story arc. I can see the hint of hills and valleys in my mind. They’re very foggy yet and undefined, but if I close my eyes and listen very hard, I can sense them there.

Think of the Scene Index of a DVD sleeve. Usually a movie is broken down into segments describing each scene, and a few scenes (4 or so) are grouped together on a single “page” of the index that you can flip through to start a movie anywhere you wish. I do the same thing when plotting a story.

Now it’s important (for me, at least) to not consider these written in stone. These *will* change, so the pressure is off. This is just the beginning. It’s a chance to think about your key words and themes, and use those words in a meaningful way to help break the timeline of Story down into measurable pieces. These are not scenes, but rather “groups” of scenes that sort of go together. I always do ten because that’s what I was taught. Either they happen at the same setting, or you can feel the beginning of a new “act” or the rise/fall of conflict. The important thing is to have fun with it. If it’s not fun, if it doesn’t feel good or comfortable, then don’t do it!

Personally, I find a very odd pleasure in coming up with scene/block names that mean something very significant to me, that I can publish here or talk about, and know exactly what I mean…but that *you* don’t know what I mean until you read the story. :D Wicked, I know. I think with all the talking I’ve done about Given in Fire that you’ll probably be able to tell in general what’s happening, but this “sleeve” is missing the nuances that will come later. Again, this is just the shell. A beginning.

The Cleft of the Rock
The World Must Burn
White Scales
Love Burns
Munakuri Lands
The Prodigal Prince
Thickening Shadows
My Lone Candle
The Well of Tears
Drown in Fire, Burn in Water

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