Yesterday I finished taking an online course through the fine people at One Story. The course was presented by Assistant Editor Ann Napolitano and covered a “new way of looking at plot.” The approach focuses on first determining what characters in the story are “missing” from their lives, and then proceeds to follow them through their search until they find what they are looking for. It wraps up by teasing out what disappointments remain after their search is over.
The course was very good, and well worth the modest $60 fee. During the discussion exchanges with other classmates, I learned about Pixar’s 22 rules for story telling, which I had not heard of before. That led me to articles on the “Story Spine.” Combining the Lost and Found approach with the Story Spine shed all new light on the novel I am currently working on, helping to isolate the most important characteristics of the story from the secondary, supporting ones.
Over all, a very good experience that added useful tools to my writer’s toolbox. I’ll be adding them to the “Write Minded” section of my site as well as posting more specific to my use of them in future posts.