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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!

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