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Wednesday, August 22, 2012
12:00 AM | Posted by Marnee Bailey | | Edit Post
I took Carol Hughes’s Deep Story class last year. It might not come as a surprise to any of you that I’d forgotten that fact until Bo’sun mentioned that she’d begun classes a couple weeks ago.
I said, “Oh, hey! Right! I took that class. It was awesome! So much great information.”
To which Bo’sun agreed and said, “I had great ideas about how I would give them their own storylines within the story.”
I promptly thought, Huh. I don’t remember that part. Maybe I should read back over that stuff.
After an intensive evening of rereading my lessons, my notes, and the class questions, I emailed Terri and said, “WHY DIDN’T I RE-READ THIS TWO MONTHS AGO!?”
She didn’t roll her eyes. At least she didn’t in the email. She’s a few states away, so maybe she did and I didn’t see it.
(Aside: If you haven’t taken this class yet, please do. It’s awesome. Carol Hughes is brilliant.)
Anyway, what was I talking about?
Oh, right. Storylines for each character.
You see, according to this class, there isn’t just one plot to your book. It’s broken into Throughlines. These are the different stories that weave through your book to help you achieve your Main Story.
The Main Story Throughline (ie, how they achieve the main story goal) is pretty much the main artery of your story. It’s the main problem and what has to be solved to hit the end.
Then, in romance, there are separate stories for your hero and heroine (the protagonist and the contagonist). These throughlines are their own personal struggles through the book and they weave into and feed the Main Story Throughline. The characters’ throughlines map out their journey towards becoming changed (for the better) characters at the end of the story and how they overcome their big fears/major flaw through the course of the Main Story.
Finally, there’s their shared storyline. How they interact together and how they overcome their differences/obstacles to accomplish their major goal.
There could be more throughlines, of course. If you have a subplot, for instance. But, those four are the big ones.
I was trying to plot them all together and I was worrying I wasn’t linking it all properly, that I would leave holes or miss major character growth. I realized this was putting the cart before the horse. After I wrote it, I’d have to make sure I did all the things I wanted to do. Destined for rewrites, I say. As I was reading my notes, I realized I could plot out what each of my characters went through separately FIRST and then weave it all together before writing.
Mostly, this reminded me that my hero and heroine are separate people outside the scoop of their love story. They need their own road to walk.
So, I thought I’d share with you all and hoped it would help you too.
Have you had any plot structure epiphanies lately? Do you think about your characters’ journeys before you start writing or do you just go and see what happens?
And again, go take Carol Hughes’s class. This is just a tiny tidbit of the wisdom in it. It’s worth the money and time.