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Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Eight Point Story Arc - The Quest

Time to continue our discussion on the eight point story arc, using The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as an example.  The eight parts are as follows.

1. Stasis
2. Trigger
3. The quest
4. Surprise
5. Critical choice
6. Climax
7. Reversal
8. Resolution

Here's a reminder of the definition for the quest-

The quest
The trigger results in a quest – an unpleasant trigger (e.g. a protagonist losing his job) might involve a quest to return to the status quo; a pleasant trigger (e.g. finding a treasure map) means a quest to maintain or increase the new pleasant state.

Last time we talked about the trigger, which involved the four children entering Narnia through the wardrobe.  This is the transitionary point where the quest begins, and the quest is one of discovery and adventure.  What follows is part of the plot synopsis from wikipedia. 

Soon after entering Narnia, the children meet Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, who invite them to dinner. The beavers recount a prophecy that the witch's power will fall when two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve fill the four thrones at Cair Paravel. The beavers tell of the true king of Narnia, a great lion named Aslan, who has been absent for many years but is now "on the move again."

The quest begins to explore Narnia, defeat the White Witch, find Aslan, and fulfill the prophecy.

The quest is the real heart of any story.
Get the girl/guy.
Find the treasure.
Discover the killer.
The list goes on and on, but it's important to remember that the quest is only made interesting by the way your characters (especially the protagonist) are affected by it and how they react to what's going on.

Your idea for a story might be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but even the greatest quest can be turned into a school textbook entry if you don't utilize your characters and make it relatable to your readers.

Any comments about the quest of your own story or something you're currently reading?  Leave them below.  Next time we'll talk about surprise!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Hobbit- I'm waiting for the Extended Edition

From the LATimes
Middle-earth fans who buy “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” when it is released on Blu-ray and DVD March 19 will be privy to a sneak preview of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” — the second movie in Peter Jackson’s planned trilogy based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien. But those hoping for an extended edition of the first film will have to wait until the holidays.
“An Unexpected Journey” will go on sale March 19 in three different combinations — a Blu-ray combo pack ($35.99), a Blu-ray 3-D combo pack ($44.95) and a DVD two-disc special edition ($28.98) — but all of them will feature the 169-minute theatrical version of the film, Warner Bros. announced Tuesday, adding that an extended edition will be available in time for the holidays.

I don't know about you, but I'm waiting for the Extended Edition.  Was The Hobbit a perfect movie?  Nope.  But I loved this movie and can't wait for the extra footage.  Maybe I'll get it from the Redbox or Netflix if I just can't wait until the holiday season.  Just think, once all three movies come out with extended editions, we can all meet up for a mind numbing  19 hour LOTR and Hobbit marathon.  Who's with me?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bleeding Star Chronicles # 4

Bleeding Star Chronicles #4- The Queen of the Black Veil was released this week.  Here's the description from Amazon.

This original sci-fi novella serial follows the adventures of Galin Winchester and the crew of the starship Katara. As Galin races a bloodthirsty robot intent on killing his children, Peter Cervantes fights for survival on the planet Necron, and soon meets up with the last person he expected to see there.

Peter Cervantes is the main POV character in this issue, and we get a lot of insight into his character, as well as his past and hopes for the future.

Pick up your digital copy today, exclusively on Amazon.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Eight Point Story Arc- The Trigger

Well, I'm finally back to discussing the Eight Point Story Arc.  Wonders may never cease!

The eight components identified by Nigel Watts in his book Writing A Novel and Getting Published, which I've just ordered for my kindle, are as follows.
1. Stasis
2. Trigger
3. The quest
4. Surprise
5. Critical choice
6. Climax
7. Reversal
8. Resolution

Here is the definition of the Trigger listed from the Daily Writing Tips website.

The Trigger
Something beyond the control of the protagonist (hero/heroine) is the trigger which sparks off the story. A fairy godmother appears, someone pays in magic beans not gold, a mysterious letter arrives … you get the picture.

So what was the trigger in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe?  The simplest answer is that it happens when Lucy enters the wardrobe, and is transported to Narnia to meet Mr. Tumnus.

The trigger in this book could also be considers as having three parts-

1.  It begins when the children move to the mansion.  This is a major disruption to their lives, and can be viewed as the start of their adventure. (We see this becoming especially true after reading The Magician's Nephew)

2. Lucy passes through the wardrobe into Narnia.  I would say this is the "Well, duh!" trigger. This is obviously a major turning point and the true beginning of adventure.

3. All four children pass through the wardrobe into Narnia.  Here we see the trigger come to a conclusion and this is where the quest truly begins.  It could also be argued that the quest begins after Lucy enters alone, and tries to convince her siblings of the existence of Narnia, but I'll talk more about this next time.

When writing your story, can you define a clear and intriguing trigger?  I recently read a book (no, I won't disclose the title) where the only clear trigger I could find came about 5/6ths of the way through the book.  Although some boring things happened in this horrible bore of a book, it seemed like the first 5/6ths of the book was stasis.  Don't make the same mistake, establish stasis for your characters and then start pounding them over the head with the universe!

In Michael Belmont and the Tomb of Anubis, the trigger happens when Micheal's parents disappear, he then must go on a quest to find them.

Want to send your characters on an exciting quest?  Make sure you establish stasis and then 'pull the trigger'  Your story will thank you for it!