Monday, April 21, 2014

Crafting Your Best Story - Tip #5 - Plot Point 1

We determined in the last post that the inciting incident is the answer to It all started when… In other words, if this event never happened, the story couldn’t have unfolded. This happens early on in the first Act.  In future posts I’ll cover what kinds of things happen in each Act, but for now, I'l go over what defines each major point.
The First Plot point is a key event that happens at the end of Act 1 and propels us into Act 2.

M.d Tabish Faraz describes it this way:

“Plot point I or the first turning point in a screenplay is the event that takes place either by the will of the protagonist himself or without his will and forces his circumstances to a whole new direction. The plot point I is the result of the inciting incident.” (italics mine)

Though Mr. Faraz is referring to screenplays, this structure is applicable to novels as well.
When you are plotting out your novel, you are looking for an event or situation that forces your main character into a new, unforeseen direction.
In TWILIGHT, the first plot point happens when Bella is being followed by dangerous men in the alley and is dramatically rescued by Edward. This is when she determines that he is indeed a Vampire.  This knowledge and her decision that she doesn’t care, pushes her life into a whole new direction.
In HUNGER GAMES plot point 1 happens when Katniss and Peeta are alone for the first time on the train to the Capitol – (sense of dread/fear of the future, one of them has to die for the other to win)
In CLOCKWISE,  the first plot point, the event that pushes us into Act 2, is when Nate asks Casey to dance and in her excitement she travels back in time with him in tow.
This is how it looks in the scene:

--“It's Nate,” Lucinda whispered. I know, Nate, Nate, Nate. She nudged me again. I looked to my right. I felt like a girl dying of thirst in the desert, convinced there was a stream of water running toward her. It really looked like Nate was walking our way.

I glanced behind me. Just a wall. Back to Nate. Yup, he was still walking towards us. My eyes popped wide. My brain was shutting down. I tried to remember my mantra. Hate Nate. Hate Nate.

He stopped right in front of me. The only thing I could think of was how tall he was. Even with my heels on, he had to look down at me.

“Would you like to dance?” he said. To me. Nate to Casey. Wants to dance.

I should have said no. My mind understood this. My spirit understood this. Somehow my mouth got it wrong and I heard myself say, “Okay.”

The thing was it was a slow dance. He took my hand in his and put his other hand around my waist. I wasn’t breathing. I put my free arm on his shoulder and gulped. Maybe I'd fainted from lack of punch and standing against the wall for too long, and this was just a hallucination. He sure seemed real. He smelled good, spicy. Was I moving my feet? I was still standing so I must be breathing. My heart beat wildly. I was going to hyperventilate.

When I dared to look at his face, he smiled. I was so confused! I stole a glimpse at the crowd by the punch table. Nate's friends were laughing.

Jessica looked really mad, and pulled Craig tighter, if that were possible. I was starting to enjoy this.

We didn't talk, just swayed to the music. I wondered what life was going to be like for me post-dance. I would be miserable. Purely miserable, since Nate would surely never set eyes on me again. Jessica would make certain of that.

I decided to just enjoy it for what it was.

“You look very nice tonight.”

What? He spoke! He thought I looked nice. I was hyperventilating. I felt faint, dizzy. Was that bad? Nate was so strong, he would hold me up.

Uh-oh, it was bad. Very, very bad. I wasn’t dizzy because of Nate.

Oh, no!--

Review your favorite movies and books and see if you can determine the Plot Point 1 scene.
 I’ll cover Midpoint reversal in the next post.

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