Friday, May 20, 2011

Incidents Revisited

In the last post we discussed the concept of writing incidents rather than scenes. To expand a little on this, here is how James V. Smith, Jr. suggests structuring your incidents in his book, You Can Write A Novel.

Smith suggests that you have:

  1. An opening incident that hooks the reader and it should come as close to the beginning of the story as possible. So, if we consider our story as a series of incidents labelled say, A to Z. Let's make incident 'A' the opening, and so it will be of great importance to hook the reader.

  2. Further, your story needs a point-of-no-return incident. This incident can lie anywhere, even at A in your continuum of incidents. For the purposes of the chart to come, I'll call it 'F'.

  3. And the last incident of great importance, the greatest of importance actually, is the climax with will include the resolution and/or close of the novel. So it's the 'Z' in the continuum.

For those who like a visual to see how the incidents compare in importance, take a look at this blue print structure.


So, what do you think? If you sat down and worked out your 'A', 'F', and 'Z' incidents, those being the most importance incidents in your story, can you see it being helpful to structure your novel as a whole? It's reminding me a bit of the snowflake method as I work through reading this book.

I'm off to another horse show this weekend. Busy, Busy, Busy!!

I pray everyone has a wonderful, safe, and healthy weekend with lots of joy to keep you smiling!

Surrendering to Him,



Sarah Forgrave said...

Interesting. It kind of plays into the 3-act structure idea, but it's missing a big event around "P". :)

Good luck at the horse show! Hopefully you have better weather this weekend. :)

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Trying to think of what my A, F, and Z are.

I need to work on my A. It's itching my brain at night when I'm trying to sleep.

~ Wendy

Loree Huebner said...

Interesting concept.

I don't know if I totally work that way. I do see the A and Z I guess...but most times I let the writing venture its own way and the F comes along naturally.

Does that make sense? LOL!

Have a great horsey weekend!

Linda Glaz said...

Trying to see where they fit in my story. Nice way to graph it!

Jessica R. Patch said...

Interesting concept! I'll have to chew on it awhile to see. Have a great time at he horse show. It's been awhile since I've been to one, but I love them--minus the smell around the trailers! :)

Katie Ganshert said...

I definitely strive to have a disturbance, a first doorway (no return), and the second doorway (which leads into the climax)

Carla Gade said...

What a great visual help and good advice!

Carla Gade said...

I'm also looking for my black moment somewhere around U.

Michelle Massaro said...

Thanks for expanding on this. I for one would still love to see actual examples from novels. I'd like to see an incident that ISN'T considered a scene. By the way, I love the snowflake method for initial set up so maybe that's why this concept is intriguing to me. =)

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Robyn Campbell said...

You turned the comments off again. The peroxide thing. I have used it. The gurgling is funny, isn't it?

We're bust too. And I want to concentrate on my writing, so I may post once a week this summer. The only problem is I signed up to do ll kinds of blog tours. Three.

I like this visual, Eileen. I think this will definitely help me on my new WIP. Glad I stopped by. Happy Memorial Day. :-)

Margo Berendsen said...

Don't worry about visiting back due to this comment i've snuck in done here. Just popping in to say hi and thank you for the incidents A, F and Z tip. and i love that hydrogen peroxide trick! You can also gargle half HP and water to help kill a sore throat, works better than salt water, but man does it taste nasty!