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Plotting Workshop -- part one

Want to have some fun? You don't have to do anything special, or write anything down. Just read the following and think about it. Ready?

Imagine that a book or movie gives you the following information in the opening scenes:

Jessica is attending the funeral of her twin sister Leah. Jessica’s grief over the loss is palpable. To make matters worse, Leah was murdered by the notorious Twin Slayer, a serial killer who has been terrorizing the city for weeks. The Slayer’s M.O. is horrifying – he or she douses his or her victims with gasoline then ignites them. Leah placed a 9-1-1 call when she was attempting to evade her attacker, but by the time the police arrived, her charred remains were virtually unrecognizable. A cousin named Eric – someone that Jessica knew about but never met until now – shows up at the funeral and offers comfort. A detective shows up too – he’s brusque, almost rude, in his attempt to get information to solve the case. Jessica’s ex-boyfriend steps in to protect her from the detective. She finds her ex’s behavior endearing. Her cousin doesn’t like the detective much either, and orders him to go away and let the family grieve in peace. But Jessica wants to help, so she steps outside with the detective to answer all his questions.

So? Any ideas about what happens?

I'll blog my own ideas in a couple of days. If you're curious about the origins of this, I was offered a chance a couple of months ago to teach a plotting workshop (for real money!), but I turned it down because even though I think I'm a pretty darned good plotter, I couldn't imagine how to teach it.

Since then, I've been giving it some thought, and I wrote a little article to post on my website. But I thought I'd preview it here, starting with lesson one.

Have fun!


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