Yesterday I participated in a Writer’s Digest webinar: Plot Your Book – Scene By Scene, with author Jordan E. Rosenfeld. It was an hour well-spent, even though she covered much of the same ground I’d already picked up through dozens of how-to books and articles.
I think that sometimes hearing a person talk about things helps reinforce what you know or what you think you know. Plus, you never know, there’s always a chance you’ll learn something new or have an epiphany (an ah-ha, now I get it moment) during the discussion.
Jordan shared the typical three-act structure of writing your book: beginning, middle, end. In each, she explained how you should be ratcheting up the tension, both internally and externally, for your main character as the book progresses. She talked about how plot is a journey of character transformation or change, the elements of a scene (character, action, plot information, setting, sensory imagery and tension), the linchpin scenes that build your plot (first scene, first doorway, recommitment, ordeal, climax/resurrection, resolution and final scene). I won’t go into all of it here as, like I said, you can find this information in numerous places online or in various how-to books.
What I think will stand out about this webinar is the bonus portion of it, wherein I get to send my plot outline or summary to Jordan for her critique. Feedback on this phase of my novel should help keep the novel on track and strengthen it overall. It should help with any revisions along the way, as well.
At the very least, the deadline for getting my plot outline to her is incentive to actually get something done.