Literary Liaisons

A blog about writing and all things story…

Final edit: Story outlining

This week I’m working on my story structure as I

finish the last chapter and begin (again) my second edit. This is frickin’ exhausting! However, with every edit I find gaping holes, weird phrases that if anyone asked I’d swear I didn’t write, and elements of my story that simply don’t resonate with the theme. I need to cut 80 pages, so this edit is a real slash and burn. I plan to have a polished (whatever that really means) draft to start querying agents by February. There, I’ve said, well written it; now I have to do it. Anyway, I’m adhering to basic story structure;
·         Ordinary world – Priest at the prison.
·         Call to adventure – Fight with Toreck
·         Refusal of the call – Priest not wanting to load his gun.
·         Meeting with mentor –  Meeting with Solomon.
·         Crossing over the threshold  Loading the .38
·         Friends, Tests and Allies – The rape of Imogene
·         Approaching the inner most cave – Killing Hansel
·         The innermost cave  Juyeong
·         Seizing the reward   Returning to Korea
(Excerpted from The Writer’s Journey, Christopher Vogler)

To this structure I’ve added a few twists and turns of my own. I have developed a chart of pivotal scenes based on this outline that help me stay on track. Those scenes are named and listed in the outline here in italics. That way I know I’ve hit these important milestones in story telling. Charts and graphs, no matter how elaborate or rudimentary, help me to stay in tune with my story. Robert Ray’s book TheWeekend Novelist Re-writes the novel, on re-writing the novel offers tremendous guidance with this sort of thing. Also visit Chris Vogler’s site if you haven’t read The Writer’s Journey which was based on the brilliant Joseph Campbell’sTHE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES; I also highly recommend Campbell’s book, The Power of Myth.

Check out his one page primer to the book.

For a refresher on the Hero’s Journey outline – click here.

2 comments on “Final edit: Story outlining

  1. Sherry Decker
    December 6, 2011

    Writing is not for wimps, that's for sure. It's sometimes thrilling and sometimes torture. Good luck with the second edit.

  2. Stephen Hayes
    December 3, 2011

    I've always loved Joseph Campbell and have a tattered copy of his book on my shelf. Have a great day.

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on December 3, 2011 by in Basic story structure, Chris Volger, editing the novel, Joseph Campbell, story outline.
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