Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Putting It All Together

Over the last six weeks I’ve provided eight different exercises for building a plot outline. Why so many? Every person brainstorms in a different way. Some exercises are geared toward specific genres. Most full length novels contain a major story idea plus several subplots and each subplot might require its own plot building exercise. There are many reasons why a writer might want to use more than one exercise to build the plot outline for their novel.
Hopefully, you have chosen a couple of exercises from this blog to help you with the task. Now it’s time to put it all together.

What if a potential novel was centered around a hero story, but contained a murder mystery and a budding romance? The novelist might want to complete all eight exercises. Merging the multiple subplots and story lines into one coherent point-by-point outline may seem overwhelming. Below I’ve offered one possible way to combine everything into a three-act structure. Once the exercises are merged, eliminate duplicate plot points and reorder them into chronological order. Then group the plot points in to chapters and voila! You have a completed, detailed plot outline and you’re ready to start writing your novel for Nanowrimo 2016.

I wish everyone the best of luck as you attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I will be taking the next four weeks to work on my own Nano novel. In December I’ll be back with a new blog series on finishing, marketing and self-publishing your Nano novel. Happy writing, everyone!

The Interlaced Outline (Note that bulleted items represent scenes)


  • Stasis (from Watt’s 8-point)
       Ordinary World (from Hero's Journey)
       Exposition (from Freytag's Pyramid)
  • Hook (from 3-Act)
       Call to Adventure (from Hero's Journey)
       Limited Awareness of Problem (from Hero's Inner Journey)
       Trigger (from Watt's 8-point)
       First Conflict Introduced (from conflict & resolution table)
       Define the Crime (from 12-Chapter Mystery)
       Woman Meets Man (from Romance Formula)
  • Refusal of the Call (from Hero’s Journey)
       Increased Awareness (from Hero's Inner Journey)
  • Backstory (from 3-Act)
       Motivation for Attachment (from Romance Formula)
       Reveal Initial Clues (from 12-Chapter Mystery)
       Establish the Setting (from 12-Chapter Mystery)
  • Resistance to Change (from Hero’s Inner Journey)
       Romance Conflict (from Romance Formula)
       Meeting the Mentor (from Hero's Journey)
       Introduce the Sleuth (from 12-Chapter Mystery)
  • Trigger (from 3-Act)
       Crossing the Threshold (from Hero’s Journey)
       The Quest (from Watt's 8-point)
       Couple Is Torn Apart (from Romance Formula)
       Rising Action (from Freytag's Pyramid)
       Overcoming Fear (from Hero's Inner Journey)
       Discover the Victim (from 12-Chapter Mystery)
  • The Belly of the Whale (from Hero’s Journey)
       Committing to Change (from Hero’s Inner Journey)
       Start the Investigation (from 12-Chapter Mystery)


  • Crisis (from 3-Act)
       The Road of Trials (from Hero’s Journey)
       Second Conflict Introduced (from Freytag’s Pyramid/conflict & resolution table)
       Establish Mystery Conflict (from 12-Chapter Mystery)

  • Experimenting with New Conditions (from Hero’s Inner Journey)
       Reveal Facts about Suspects (from 12-Chapter Mystery)

  • Meeting with the Higher Power (from Hero’s Journey)
  • Disappearance of Suspect(s) (from 12-Chapter Mystery)
  • Critical Choice (from Watt’s 8-point)
        Establish Urgency and Consequence of Not Solving Mystery (from 12-Chapter Mystery)
        Couple is Drawn Back Together (from Romance Formula)

  • Preparing for Major Change (from Hero’s Inner Journey)
       Struggle (from 3-Act)
       Temptation (from Hero’s Journey)
       Third Conflict Introduced (from Freytag’s Pyramid/conflict & resolution table)
       Increase Number of Suspects (from 12-Chapter Mystery)

  • Big Change with Feeling of Life and Death (from Hero’s Inner Journey)
       Provide Answers Based on Physical Evidence (from 12-Chapter Mystery)

  • Ordeal, Death and Rebirth (from Hero’s Journey)
       Reveal the Sleuth’s Background (from 12-Chapter Mystery)
       Establish Sleuth’s Personal Investment in Solving the Mystery (from 12-Chapter Mystery)
       Couple Is Torn Apart (Again) (from Romance Formula)

  • Epiphany (from 3-Act)
        Reveal Hidden Motives and Secret Relationships (from 12-Chapter Mystery)
        Clarify Significance of Earlier Clues (from 12-Chapter Mystery)
        The Sleuth Reveals the Results of the Investigation, but Has Not Completely Solved the Mystery (from 12-Chapter Mystery)
        A New Perspective Is Shown (from 12-Chapter Mystery)

  • Couple is Drawn Back Together (from Romance Formula)
       Resolve Second Conflict (from Freytag’s Pyramid/conflict & resolution table)


  • The Plan (from 3-Act)
       The Sleuth Revisits the Case from the New Perspective (from 12-Chapter Mystery)
        Reveal the Chain of Events Which Precipitated the Crime (from 12-Chapter Mystery)
        Resolve Second Conflict (from Freytag's Pyramid/conflict & resolution table)
        The Sleuth Begins to Understand What Actually Happened (from 12-Chapter Mystery)
        The Sleuth Weighs All Evidence and Information (from 12-Chapter Mystery)
  • Climax (from 3-Act/Freytag’s Pyramid/Watt’s 8-Point)
        Reward/Seizing the Sword (from Hero’s Journey)
        Accepting Consequences of New Life (from Hero’s Inner Journey)
        The Sleuth Finds Proof to Substantiate his/her Theory (from 12-Chapter Mystery)
        A Confrontation Occurs Between the Sleuth and the Perpetrator Where the Mystery Is Solved (from 12-Chapter Mystery)

  • Ending (from 3-Act)
       Justice Is Served (from 12-Chapter Mystery)

  • Falling Action (from Freytag’s Pyramid)
       Refusal of the Return (from Hero’s Journey)
       Reversal (from Watt’s 8-point)

  • The Magic Flight (from Hero’s Journey)
        New Challenge and Rededication (from Hero’s Journey)

  • Rescue from Without (from Hero’s Journey)
       Final Attempts with Last Minute Danger (from Hero’s Inner Journey)
  • Resurrection (from Hero’s Journey)
  • Resolution (from Freytag’s Pyramid/Watt’s 8-point)
       Resolve all Outstanding Conflicts (from conflict & resolution table)
       Crossing the Return Threshold (from Hero’s Journey)
       Resolve All Conflicts that Change the Sleuth (from 12-Chapter Mystery)
       They Reconcile Their Problems (from Romance Formula)

  • Master of Two Worlds (from Hero’s Journey)
       Mastery (from Hero’s Inner Journey)
       Couple Makes a Commitment (from Romance Formula)

  • Freedom to Live (from Hero’s Journey)
       New Stasis (from Watt’s 8-point)

All of the brainstorming exercises described in this blog series can be found in my Scrivener template on Google Drive at

For non-Scrivener users, Personal Noveling Assistant (PNA) pages are at

For more about my stories, check out my author page at

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