Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Build a Bare Story

Do you ever have trouble understanding your own notes that you take? Well, here are some more conference LTUE Symposium notes, and I hope they make sense, cuz I wasn't exactly sure what I wrote, but there's some really interesting stuff in there that's well worth sharing and reading, I swear. I think maybe I was daydreaming about a story or something while I wrote them becuase they weren't complete and I sorta had to fill in the blanks. Sometimes my brain gets too full of info at conferences and I can't organize it all in my mind! Anyway, the class was given by E.J. Patten, author of The Hunter Chronicles:

E.J. Patten

3-Act Structure

Three aspects of a story:
1. Plot—what happens
2. Millieu—where, why, when it happens, setting, idea/concept, philosophy, time period, eeapons, place, things, etc . . . 
3. Character—who it happens to

More book examples: 
Enders Game
Garden of the Moon
Davinchi Code

For the beginning of a story:
  • Start in the middle of the story
  • Begin with a plot (inciting?) incident 
  • Come up with a character to use as a placeholder

Plot driven stories:
  • Thrillers are plot driven
  • Include lots of action/adventure 
  • Many MG books are plot driven
  • Sci-fi and high fantasy have a lot of world-building and setting in them
  • YA books use cool settings and time periods

Character driven stories:
  • Comedy
  • Romance
  • Literary fiction
The Hero's Journey:
The reason people read fantasy is because they want to be taken to a new place

Good examples of the hero’s journey:

A simple concept statement about a story includes all the elements of plot, character, and millieu

A character driven approach:
Ask 4 questions about your characters:
  1. Who are they?
  2. What do they want?
  3. How are they going to get it?
  4. What’s keeping them from getting it?
The antagonist is directly opposed to protagonists goal and vice versa

Character interactions need to have these three aspects:

Ask the above questions for all main characters and support characters

Act 1—inciting incident

Next top down approach (gives you depth)
Primary plot, subplot

My notes were incomplete and sort of tapered off at this point. I hope some of that was helpful!


  1. OMG, I was in that room with you! I thought this was the best presentation! Sad I didn't know who you were then :(

  2. Wish I could have met you. HOpefully next time.