want obstacle action

Yesterday I finished the outline—or “blueprint”—of The End of Magic, working title of The Next Novel. Sixty pages! (Although there is lots of white space.) Twenty drafts! (Although many of these involved minor changes.)

Now it’s time to move back to our country home and get to work. I’ve allowed myself four months to write the first draft.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about our two-month stay in Toronto is use of the Toronto Public Library system. It’s so easy to request a book on-line, so easy to pick it up. Jennifer Glossip, a wonderful fiction editor I’ve known for decades, shared with me the list of good books on fiction she gives out at workshops. A number of these titles were my favorites, as well, but several I hadn’t heard of … and so I’ve been having a look at some of them.

The one book that I gobbled up, covering it with post-it notes, was Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver. It had an immediate impact on my outline. What do my characters want? What is the obstacle? What action results?

Want/obstacle/action …

These need to be evident on every page.

What I love about reading a book like this is that it sets off ideas, sparking like mad. I’ll be posting more about this book in days to come.