Pacing: Expanding the Outline

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Do the Happy Butt Dance with me!

Now that we have a decent understanding of pacing or beats, we can move into understanding our template for our book(s). Once you have your ‘beats’ in place- each triangle funneling into the next chapter, we are ready to…WRITE. ** Insert happy butt dance here. ** Remember, it is all about the inverted triangle. Opening scene is broad in context and then the actions and events begin to ‘squeeze’ your MC until they are pushed to the peak of the triangle and dropped into the next situation. In our beat-writing phase, take a look at your roughly sketched outline.

Buy The Book.

WooHoo! We get to write the werds that have been stuck in my…our heads. ** Insert the second happy butt dance here. ** Alrighty then. We are now gonna move forward. Forward = good. Backwards = not good. Backward? Who does that? Any who, let’s fill our cuppa with something delish. Steal some nibbles from that sketchy jar in the breakroom and find your copy of Take Off Your Pants! by Libbie Hawker. Where was it? How did it get under there? Wow.

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Let’s recap a bit.

First three outline headings:

  1. * Opening Scene- broad strokes of story.
  2. * Inciting Event: You see your great love across a crowded room.
  3. * Character Realizes External Goal: Winning the love of the woman/ man of your dreams.

Or something like that. Now let’s take a look at these headings. We now know we must complete a few key pacing needs.

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My license pic is HORRIBLE.

  1. Set the stage. Where are they that your MC sees their love across a crowded room? DMV waiting to renew their tags. LOL- I really do crack myself up. Love at the DMV
  2. Show the flaw of the MC…er…Didn’t have enough cash to renew their tags. I don’t know! Figure it out.
  3. Add in some ‘squeeze’ movements. Text someone who may have the cash you need. Wait outside for them while watching their true love with embarrassment. Your MC just wants to leave.
  4. More squeeze until your peak. Love of your life offers to pay for your tags.

Seriously people, I’m making this up as I go along. Ms. Hawker’s example is the story of Pocahontas. This is why I tell you to buy the book. YOU can read it for yourself. Have you not figured out that I am a goofball?

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What? I like coffee. Everywhere.

At this stage, you have the ability to move things around so it flows better and will move cleanly with the rest of the story. Now, grab a clean sheet of paper and begin to expand on the rough sketch of your plot.  Add actions and personality to your storyline. Don’t forget to put your reader ‘somewhere’. Create the space as well as the story. If it does take place at the DMV describe the smell of sweat, the angry grumbles, the broken linoleum on the floor, and the ticked off customer service person staring at you like you have ruined their lives. You know…the DMV. Once you have your broad opening, followed by your squeeze moments, don’t forget the cymbal crash at the peak.

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This is what I look like while typing these posts. A little green and in a panic.

It is time to write the book. With your template in front of you containing your full plot plan all you have to do is connect the dots with strong beats and side characters. Yes, you need characters other than the MC, goal, and ally. It’s called flavor. In my example they would be the grumbling people in line and the ticked off lack-of-customer service person. Flavor.

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Take it one beat at a time. Keep your movements and dialogue strong and on point. Don’t add things that will not move your story forward. Remember waaaaay back we talked about a character with an amazing spoon collection? Yeah- that one. If the collection has no baring on the story LEAVE IT OUT.

Congratulations! You have outlined a book and can move forward, with confidence, in writing it.

Doesn’t it feel great to take your pants off? – Libbie Hawker

Don’t get all excited just yet. We aren’t done with the book.

Please remember that I am not trying to write this book for you word for word. I am skipping a lot of detail. I highly suggest you purchase the book and read between the lines.

I am taking votes on our next book. Which one lights your fire? What would you like to learn next? Let me know ASAP. We are getting very close to the end of our current read. So far, Save the Cat! has a slight lead. Thoughts?

Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.

Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.

I’m always looking for new friends!

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