Thursday, December 15, 2011

Guest Blogger Jamie Lee Scott

Please welcome my guest blogger Jamie Lee Scot!

No the title doesn't mean this post is X rated. I'm here to discuss outlining. Before you cover your eyes and run screaming because of the "outline" word, let me assure you, IT'S WORSE THAN YOU THINK!
That being said, here is why:
First, we've all heard of the Save the Cat beat sheet, and there are many others out there. Not a screenwriter? This doesn't excuse you. The beat sheets are for all writers of fiction, and they do help save valuable rewriting time. Fleshing out the outline does NOT kill your creativity! It gives you a roadmap and helps you find huge holes in your plot so you don't have to go back and rewrite innumerable pages. I'll just include what I feel are the 7 absolute must haves, and you can take or leave what you want from them.
1. Ordinary, everyday life - the story starts with your main char (MC) doing normal everyday stuff.
2. Inciting Incident - what rocks the MC out of said ordinary life.
3. End of Act 1 - MC decides on course of action for incident in #2
4. Midpoint - Action takes a sudden & unexpected direction
5. Lowest of low points or End of Act 2 - No way in hell the MC is going to get out of this one.
6. Act 3 or the Ultimate Challenge - Something, anything that will reanimate the MC to continue.
7. Return to "ordinary" life - Only now the MC has changed forever.
Sounds easy, right? So here's the rub, ready?
If you want a really compelling story, you have to remember you don't just have one MC, there are many characters in your story. AND YOU SHOULD OUTLINE FOR EACH MC (secondary characters, not so much, or at all). You may not use all of the information, but you should have a progression for each of the main characters in your story. So the above outline isn't just a onetime deal for each story, it can actually be 3 or more. Yikes. Hate me now? Or were you already doing this?

Here is a little something for you to enjoy from
 Let Us Prey 
by Jamie Lee Scott

Mimi Capurro has been hired to protect New York Times bestselling author, Lauren Silke, who was recently assaulted in the bathroom at a paranormal conference. Though Mimi is hired to act as bodyguard for Lauren’s upcoming book tour, plans change when Lauren's assistant is murdered and the slaying is a replica of a scene from Lauren’s newest novel. A novel that hit bookstores the same day as the killing.
Now instead of playing bodyguard, Mimi is cracking computer code, and chasing down vampires. These vampires come alive on the streets of Santa Cruz, as part of a live-role-playing game. Mimi must find the connection between the vampires and the author to track down the killer. This would be much easier if Detective Nick Christianson wanted her investigating the case.

Nick, Mimi’s old college fling, is the lead homicide investigator. 
Though he wants her off the case, he also wants to pump her for information. Nick may have used her in the past, but this time she’ll use him to try to catch the murderer first.

1 comment:

  1. I realize not everyone knows about the Save the Cat book. It was written for screenwriting, but it was my epiphany book on outlining for novels. People can read about the book here: