If you haven’t read Part One, the introduction to the 8 C’s, read it here!
Use these worksheets to:
- plan out the main plot skeleton of a novel
- reduce a complex novel into one, overarching plot
- understand the main plot of your novel, all the better to pitch with
- get an idea of what to put in your synopsis
- recognize how virtually all movies and novels use a similar structure
- (and how each modifies the structure to fit its own needs)
- make your other writer friends jealous of how organized you are
Do not use these worksheets to:
- make money publishing or reposting my work
- create your own blog post on the 8 C’s without linking back here
- make paper airplanes (unless you recycle, of course)
Next week I’ll start going into more detail about the 8 C’s and the steps in between. Until then, because I love you, dear readers, I will use the plot of the Disney movie Tangled as an example below. (Tangled and all its characters belong to Disney. The film is referenced as an illustration for educational purposes only.)
Novels are much more complex than movies, but movies will nearly always follow the same structure. I once plotted (500) Days of Summer with a similar plotting tool. Its story isn’t linear at all, but the events are still arranged in the 3-act structure. If you look, you’ll find nearly all movies follow the same screenwriting structure, though sometimes at different paces. Be as creative as you want, but realize that if your novel gets turned into a movie, it’s a safe bet that the screenwriters will either find the same structure in your novel or create one.
If the plotting tool does nothing for your fiction (though I hope that it does), at the very least you can use it to keep your brain active while watching movies.
Beware, below there be spoilers. Also, feel free to disagree with my placement. There is freedom.
The 8 C’s of Tangled
Prologue—the story of the flower, Rapunzel being kidnapped
Captivation—Flynn says it’s the story about the day he died. (Other things might be the hook, like the humor or the fantasy element.)
Opening—Rapunzel wants to see the lights. Flynn wants to be rich.
Change—Flynn shows up in tower
Reaction—Rapunzel beats him up and makes a plan. She gets rid of Gothel. They make their way to the Fuzzy duckling.
Complication—Gothel finds Maximus and runs back to find Rapunzel is gone.
Preparation and Problems—Guards come to the Fuzzy Duckling. The Canyon scene. Flynn and Rapunzel get stuck in the cave, get out. Rapunzel heals Flynn (this is the physical midpoint of the movie, and it’s important because Rapunzel has never shared her secret with anyone, but a bigger shift occurs later). Gothel meets up with the thugs (that’s a pinch point, if you are familiar with the 3 Act structure. It’s a reminder of how bad the antagonist is.) Flynn and Rapunzel sit at the campfire.
Confrontation—Gothel approaches Rapunzel at the camp fire, but Rapunzel refuses to go with her. Gothel gives her the crown and leaves.
Elation—Flynn and Rapunzel go to the city. They see the lights. Flynn even gets the crown. Flynn realizes he wants to be with Rapunzel. This is the “midpoint shift” even though it occurs almost 2/3rds into the movie, when Rapunzel achieves her initial goal of seeing the lights and understands her new, ultimate goal is belonging (or freedom, or to be wanted … I think “belonging” is a good umbrella term).
Collapse—On the shore, Flynn is captured and Rapunzel is taken home to the tower.
Gloom—Flynn is imprisoned and awaits death sentence. Rapunzel is depressed sitting on her bed.
Comprehension—Rapunzel realizes she’s the lost princess!
Action—Flynn escapes and goes to the tower.
Curve ball—Gothel stabs Flynn.
Final Battle—Rapunzel tells Gothel she will never stop fighting her.
Culmination—Flynn cuts Rapunzel’s hair in an act of selfless love.
Resolution—Rapunzel saves Flynn with requited love. Rapunzel is reunited with her true family.
Epilogue—Flynn’s narration about how Rapunzel ruled and that they eventually got married.
Monday we’ll be talking about music that motivates us. Think about it over the weekend.
See the entire series of my 8 C’s of Plotting here.
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