The Chain of Events for each Act is a tool that helps when, even when you plan up to the point of having a story-board, lo and behold, the writer is stuck. Either doesn’t like the way the original plan outlined it, or it’s a bit (aaaahhhhhhh) cliché, or it just doesn’t work now that the first Act is complete (sort of). You can heal yourself by using this method at this point.
How it’s done:
Create a chain of events (actions), including the Act 1 you’ve just finished. Of course, Act 1 is the setup, so you may see there are fewer actions to write out (one line only, please), but you should see the flow, the links in the chain, how one action leads to another (hence, the chain effect). You see the connection, how one piece leads to the next.
Now do it for Act 2(1), then read Act 1 and Act 2(1) together, then do a chain of events for Act 2(2) – don’t forget the power of that midpoint and how everything goes a-up at that point/scene/moment in the story. Now re-read Act1, 2(1), and 2(2).
With that read fresh in your mind, speed write the single sentence chain of events page for Act 3. Don’t forget the clean-up of the baddies; don’t forget to ‘see’ how the things in Act 1 get their piece of the action here (the six things and their growth pattern).
Read them all, in one standing moment (although I like to walk while I’m reading and do some of the actions myself) until you get to ‘the end’ – and trust me, if there’s something in there that doesn’t fit, or is weak, then this is the moment you’ll feel it.
I know some people do one plan and stick with it, but if you get the feel that something in the story just isn’t quite right, you’re probably right, and doing this will help you see it. And also, just because you wrote up a plan, doesn’t mean it was the best you could do – plans can be very flexible (I mean, it’s yours, isn’t it, and you can do whatever you like?).
One of the things I like about doing a plan is that I get rid of the first idea and as I work through the first draft of each Act, I can recognise these points – and I can find another way to do what needs to be done to create a story with more power, more impact on the reader. Isn’t that what you want?
So, the Chain of Events: A great tool for (what some people call) writers’ block, the blank moments, the ‘I need some motivation’ days, etc.
Remember, one sentence only for each action to ‘see’ how the each link in the chain connects to the next.
And that’s your lot. See you next week.