Know the route you need to take

There's something to be said for taking the scenic route
Which way now?

After having reached the midpoint of the pulpy adventure spec outline, I’d been struggling with getting to the next plot point.

Not helping was the almost total jettisoning of material from the previous draft. The story had since changed in a drastic way, so there was nothing to salvage.

While I knew where the story had to go, I couldn’t figure out how to get there.

The midpoint sequence ended the way it had to – hero fully committed to achieving his goal, but now on several levels, and the antagonist getting closer to achieving his.

But what happens next?

Exploring several options, something finally clicked and I remembered a very simple rule we all tend to sometimes forget:

It’s not what could happen, it’s what has to happen.

THIS is what the characters need to do to move things forward (with your protagonist being the primary mover), and the more challenging we can make their journey, the better.

There are plenty of options of how things can play out in your story, but it will take some effort (and a lot of rewriting) to find the one that it needs.

4 thoughts on “Know the route you need to take

  1. I started a screenplay last week with no outline, I wrote 12 pages. Not sure if it’s garbage or not. I only wrote an outline when I was in film school and had to. I don’t know, I feel outlines hold me back a little, but when I get stuck, I see why I need one lol.

    • Using the tried-and-true metaphor, would your build a house without a blueprint? Nope.

      A lot of beginning writers think they can just jump right in and start writing. As we all soon learn, definitely not a good method.

      I’ve always found it better to spend the most time on the outline and fine-tune the story before even considering starting pages.

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