To plot, or not to plot – that is the question …
Exposition – Rising Action – Climax – Falling Action – Denouement
1. set-up scene – a scene of normal life or “the ordinary world”. Often called EXPOSITION. If I have such a scene at all, I try and keep it as short as possible.
2. Inciting Incident – the true beginning – sets story in motion. Called the “call to adventure” in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey.
3. period of turmoil/confusion. Campbell called it “refusing the call”
4. The First Turning Point (must happen within the first 25% of action). Campbell suggested a story at this point often involves a “meeting of the mentor” and then “acceptance of the call, which leads to the protagonist crossing “the First Threshold”. Usually it is a moment of decision, or realisation, which leads to a momentous step being taken. I like to think of it as a gateway into a new state of being, a moment of psychological change.
5. Rising Action – a series of incidents, each increasing in tension and suspense. Joseph Campbell called this ‘The Road of Trials’ which I like, as it gives the sense of ever increasing difficulties. I normally like to plan the Road of Trials quite carefully, making sure that each scene or incident has a narrative function – each event is a revelation to be understood, an obstacle that must be overcome, an ordeal to endure, a lesson to be learned. I like the outer journey to reflect the inner journey of the protagonist’s process of change and transformation.