Nail Your NaNoWriMo #7: The Most Important Moment in your Story

There’s a lot of wiggle room in this story structure stuff.  The targets for your story milestones are just that — targets — but if you miss by a reasonable amount in either direction (too soon, or a bit late), your story may not tank because of it.

But one of those milestones, while still offering wiggle room, remains the lynchpin of your story. The weight-bearing cross beam of your architecture.  Mess this up — either via misplacement, misunderstanding or simple abuse — and your story probably won’t work.  Because it’ll look like something other than a novel, as defined by agents and editors and even readers.  Not all of whom, by the way, may even recognize this terminology of even the existence of this principle.

They’ll just know it when they see it.  And wince when they don’t.

It’s your First Plot Point. 

And your need to master what it is before you can optimize how you’ve engineering it into your story.

Rather than open this can of worms here, better to send you to a post that isn’t restained by space and time, like this so-called “tip” is.  Todays tip is to read this post and then re-read until you can recite it in your sleep.

Go here: http://storyfix.com/story-structure-series-4-–-the-most-important-moment-in-your-story-the-first-plot-point. Because your story depends on your First Plot Point to work.  NaNoWriMo included.

Don’t shortcut this one.  It’s the key to everything you’re doing.

Here’s another set of questions, from a different angle, that you should address as you plan and write your story:

http://storyfix.com/45-questions-your-story-will-always-force-you-to-answer

4 Comments

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4 Responses to Nail Your NaNoWriMo #7: The Most Important Moment in your Story

  1. Larry,

    In this last post, those links are from within wp-admin, so no one but you can access them. You might want to take a look at that.

    Thanks again for the great advice. It was a pleasure meeting you in Medford last week.

    Frank

  2. Lee

    Larry, I think I’m in love. With apologies to your wife (not really!), you have stolen this writer’s heart. I’ve done NaNoWriMo eight times — EIGHT times — and I’ve stumbled and fumbled around not knowing what I was doing each of those times. I have written some beautiful prose, some lovely verse…with not one single finished novel to show for it. Armed with your ebooks and blog posts (and Scrivener on my laptop), I am determined not only to write and complete my rough draft during NaNoWriMo, but afterward to get it edited and published too.

    I want to thank you for your generous teaching and sharing on your blog and in your (amazingly affordable) books. You have touched the hearts of more writer wannabe’s than you know. I haven’t felt this hopeful about writing in a long time. Well…ever!

  3. Excellent post! What’s so cool is recognizing it in the novels I wrote recently – when I think of my novels that turning point is there in any of them.

    It’s not always dire. It’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes it’s the maturing consequences of a good thing that opens up greater risks and greater stakes for the characters.

    I like to play off the high points of the story and throw in dire consequences of cool things. It’s a pattern that still drives the story forward just as much as if it was something disastrous – as it has been in some of my books. It’s not always the same thing.

    I just like using “you get what you wish for” as a plot device. Sometimes at the end, sometimes at the first or second plot point. I think that emphasizes a secondary theme of causality – if you want something that bad, you’re going to get it and meet the consequences. It may be worth it or it might not, depends on how you pursued it.

  4. Pingback: Brian Wethington » Archive » Storyfix.com NaNoWriMo Guide