Repositioning the Beats

April 23, 2016 by KWills

RThe Plotting Workshop is built around the beats of a story. At first I thought I had too much plot because there didn’t seem to be room for everything – and yes, one of my encounters turned out to be superfluous, and was promptly axed. However, even with that scene gone, things didn’t seem to fit.

With some help from the Facebook group, I realised that I could move the beats without changing the plot – or even the order of events. All my notes stayed in the same sequence, and I had only to change the rhythm. What I had previously marked as a climax gets a softer treatment, and lets the new climax come through.

One of the keys to working out the new beats was figuring out what kind of story I was telling. Although I’ve been calling it a fantasy adventure, it’s very character-driven. The physical shifts and turns, which I used to mark the beats in my first outline, are less important than the changes to the characters themselves. So the climaxes hit, not when the characters are faced with a new situation, but when that situation triggers a change within the character (for good or bad).

I have a feeling that I may be writing “literary fiction” after all. Even though I’m still not sure what that even means.

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