Writing Exercise #3

Taken from WritersDigest.com

Plotting Triple-O Method

This exercise appealed to me because I've had a few of my editors tell me that the "climax" of my story isn't really very good. Here's the text directly from Writer's Digest...

Use the Triple-O method to create a plot “skeleton” for some of your story ideas.  Good places to start would be the clipping/idea file you’ve been building all throughout this workshop and the Character Profile Sheets.  For each story idea, start with a clean sheet of paper (or new computer document) and try to describe each of the three “O’s”: Objective, Obstacles and Outcome.  This also would be a good time to try to come up with some possible titles for these story ideas. (Jot down as many appropriate titles for each idea as you think of, even if you don’t think they’re exactly right. Coming up with good titles is often a process of trial and error.)
If you’re having trouble applying the Triple-O method to your story ideas, it just may be that you need a little more practice. As Nanovic suggests later in his Writer’s Yearbook article, a good way to do that is to work the process in reverse–start with a published story and see if you can identify the three O’s. After you’ve reduced a number of completed stories to their essence in this way, you should be comfortable applying the method to your own undeveloped ideas.
Of course, if you feel you have a good understanding of the Triple-O method, but are still unable to apply it to a particular idea, it probably means that idea needs a little more thought—perhaps you haven’t given the character a real problem to solve or put a strong enough obstacle in his path to make the story interesting. That’s why the Triple-O method is so useful: It allows you to test your ideas before you spend a lot of time writing a story that isn't “there” yet. If you find ideas in your file that don’t contain all of the O’s, don’t discard them; make whatever notes you can at this point and then re-file them. Sometimes an idea just needs a little time to ferment before it’s ready to become a story.
Now... my plot definitely has an objective and an outcome, it's the obstacles I'm having a hard time with. Also, the fact that the larger story is broken into three books makes my ultimate objective too far off... I need the first book to have an objective of it's own. That could be:
1. Getting in and out of the Record Cave safely and undetected...
2. Rescuing a member of the company who gets kidnapped...
3. or something...
Those are the main objectives I have right now, and it makes things anticlimactic... I could try to flip the order, but it mixes certain things up in doing that, so I'm not sure what I'll do...

If I leave the order the way it is, then I'll have to intensify the second event (which shouldn't be too hard actually now that I think about it.) In that event, Kolina will have an opportunity to use what she's learned, and grow in wisdom, patience, and strength (which really are the three key themes of the entire series anyway, so it works...). I'm glad I've got this place, so I can type myself through these things...

As far as the objective, right now it's simply to gather everything they need so that they can accomplish their bigger goal... all without getting caught.

Obstacles... we cross a few. Guards, bandits...hormones... you know. Really I need to make sure we hit something like that in every chapter though, especially after they get going on the road.

Anyway, those are my thoughts... on my thoughts. Thanks for traveling today! 

X's and O's?

Page Traveler

Are you writing fiction? What are the Objectives, Obstacles, and Outcomes of your story?

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