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Framing The Plot Part 1: Protagonist and Antagonist

Over the next few weeks, during the month of NanoWriMo, I thought I'd walk you through my process of outlining a story based on my theory set out in the Story Building Blocks series of books.

By working through a series of questions you can build a basic story skeleton.

1) What is your initial premise or set up?__________________________________

2) Which will drive your story?
 1 If your story is plot driven, it will sit on a genre shelf.
 1 If it is character driven, it will most likely sit on the literary shelf.
 3) In my story the main character struggles with the overall story problem and learns (Theme):  _______________________________________________________
4) My protagonist is: __________________________________________________
Enters the story in Scene#___________     Exits the story in Scene#___________
5) If there is a love interest, he or she is: ___________________________________
Enters the story in Scene#___________     Exits the story in Scene#___________
6) As the result of the (inciting event) the protagonist is forced to face the overall
story problem:_______________________________________________________
7) The inciting event forces the protagonist to make a decision or take action to (story goal):  __________________________________________________________
8) Achieving this goal is complicated by his/her having to deal with (personal dilemma): ___________________________________________________________
9) In achieving (or not achieving) the story goal, the character resolves his/her personal dilemma in this way (point of change): _____________________________________
10) The characteristic/ability that keeps the protagonist from ignoring the story problem is (character flaw or weakness): _______________________________
 11) The characteristic/ability that enables him to solve the story problem is (secret weapon):______________________________________________________
12) Directly opposed to the protagonist’s goal is the (antagonist or antagonistic force such as god, society, nature, self): ____________________________________
Enters the story in Scene#___________     Exits the story in Scene#___________
13) The antagonist’s wants to (antagonist’s goal): ____________________________
14) The reason the antagonist is capable of stopping the protagonist is (antagonist’s secret weapon):______________________________________________
15) But in the end the antagonist is unsuccessful because of (antagonist’s character flaw):_______________________________________________________
16) The antagonist fails in his goal and (antagonist point of change if there is one or his disposition at the end: changed, dead, locked up, free to strike again):
Tune in next week as we continue to build our story skeleton.

For more about how to craft plots using conflict check out, Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of conflict available in print and e-book and check out the free tools and information about the series on my website.

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