When a fast-working virus ravages humanity and the dead begin to rise, a band of unlikely teen heroes struggle for survival. Little do they know, zombies will soon be the least of their problems.This is my newest logline for my novel. It isn't perfect, but it's getting there.
In order to help figure out my story structure, I have been following along Alexandra Sokoloff's blog lately. I heard her speak once and I felt like it changed my life. Like she was speaking to my heart! So many writers scoff at the idea of plotting your novel ahead of time. They feel more comfortable just writing to see what the story becomes. I admire these writers. I really do. But I am not one of them. I tried it with Into Darkness, and even though I think it started out okay, I never actually wrote an ending to it! I had no idea where I was taking the story so when I got to a certain point, I didn't know where else to go, and I quit. I do not want that to happen with my current WIP, which I've up to this point called Pandemic, but now am certain I need a new name for. (But that's another blog on another day.)
I took cues from Alex as well as local Carolina author Diane Chamberlain in creating index cards and a story board that follows the eight sequence movie structure. I know everyone keeps calling it a three-act structure simply because of the history of it, but I am jumping forward and calling it a four-act structure. I am even going to give my novel 4 distinct Parts that each have a name. We'll find out later if it actually works :P.
So, here is the board I worked on all weekend:
It isn't quite finished, as you can see in those last three sequences, but it's getting there. I have used five different colors of post-it notes for this novel. Each color is for a different POV since this is sort of an ensemble cast piece. Pink = the witch; Purple = my heroine, Parrish Sorrows; Blue = the hero, Noah Vincent; Yellow = Any official news or announcement about the virus (CDC, News, Internet, etc); Green = Any other POV, which includes the Sorceress, the boy, Carmen, and Crash so far. I know those names don't mean much to any of you, but to me it all makes sense :P.
Then, I also transferred those ideas to matching color index cards :
Isn't it funny how simply being able to use colors and copious amounts of office supplies can help my productivity? Yes, perhaps I am crazy to a degree, but it makes me happy! I feel like I now have a strong idea of where my story is headed. I watched two movies this weekend and analyzed them for story points. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and the new movie in theaters, The Crazies (which was excellent and scary). Tonight, I plan to watch 28 Days Later. Watching how stories similar to my own use structure to heighten tension, fear, and conflict really does make a difference. Thank you Alexandra Sokoloff!