In my previous blog, I explained the Five Act formula for structuring plots that William Shakespeare used for every play he ever wrote. Now I'm going to use it to outline a short story that I wrote. Thing is, though, that this short story is a story that I know well, but that I wrote badly. In outlining it, I hope I can improve it. This, being only an outline of the story, will read vaguely. Tell me how it reads to you, and if you like it.
Act I: Introduce Main Plot/Characters/Conflicts
- Main characters of this story: Trick and Moxy
- Trick: a good looking and talented boy with an overdeveloped sense of justice
- Moxy: a good looking and quiet girl who likes to think and be alive and just get along with things
- Main plot: Trick is introduced as a person who is usually kind and generous, but he has recently been controlling. That seems to Moxy to be out of character.
- Main Conflict: Trick has decided that it's his mission to rescue a boy named Hugo who gets picked on a lot. Moxy disapproves of this plan.
Act II: Introduce Secondary Plot/Characters/Conflicts
- Moxy likes trick, and she is suppressing it. She has a boyfriend, and she doesn't want to think of Trick that way, and he's never encouraged her to do so.
- Trick is comitted to give a speech at a club meeting tomorrow.
- Moxy's friend, Elizabeth, is introduced: she's abrasive and honest.
Act III: Plots Are Complicated
- Moxy refuses to talk to Trick about casual things (invitation to a party). Elizabeth calls her out on this and forces Moxy to really consider how she feels about Trick.
- Trick bails on the speech he'd comitted to give, going further against his character as Moxy understands him.
- Moxy confronts him, and becomes angry.
- Trick behaves resolutely chauvinistic.
Act IV: Resolution Suggested, and Described as Both Impossible and Inevitable
- Elizabeth says Trick needs to be taken down a peg.
- Seems impossible: Trick is too awesome, in the eyes of our perspective character.
- It would solve all the problems: A Trick with a lesson in humility would be a Trick restored to equilibrium.
- Maybe this would help Moxy, too.
Act V: Climax and Conclusion
- Trick gets into fight with the people who were harassing Hugo.
- And loses. Moxy genuinely fears for him.
- He realizes that he doesn't have to control everything.
- Moxy begins to actually see him for who he is.
Right. There's the story. Outlining it like this has helped me. Does it make any sense?
Next lesson: um...something good. It's a surprise!