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Chapter 3 of the “Revision & Self-Editing” by James Scott Bell left me with a lot more meat than Chapter2: Characters.

The author focuses on the LOCK system, which I’ll list here since it can be found easily elsewhere on the web:

L – Lead: The lead is the reader’s access to the story

O – Objective: To get or get away from something – must be essential to the Lead’s well-being

C– Confrontation: Comes from an opposition character who is stronger than the Lead

K– Knockout: Readers want a knockout ending that leaves them satisfied and creates resonance

The author speaks about L.O.C.K., then goes into basic explanation of the standard 3-Act structure. He follows this up with the Mythical Structure (most notably used as the structure for Star Wars), then various Plot pattern types (The Chase, Revenge, The Quest, etc). All of these structures have entire books dedicated to them, so the author’s focus was very brief.

Overall, if you’ve never read anything on plot and structure this was a good, concise cliff notes version of these elements. But this book gave me more than enough food for thought.

From the perspective of most of my stories, I tend to use The Quest pattern with elements of the Mythical Structure; fitting it all into the 3-Act structure. Is this a bad thing? Isn’t this too formulaic?

I’ve never published a novel before. Other famous stories follow these patterns. If so many famous stories were published using a “formula”, then I think it’s good enough for me.

Set the timer for 10-minutes and try this writing prompt.

Writing prompt #0033


Write about yogurt.

Write from the perspective of someone who loves or hates it. Does it have to be flavored or sweetened? What about the health benefits? What is the big deal with the Greek yogurt trend these days? What if this was a character’s favorite food, how could that change the story? What if the character was allergic and is traveling in the Mediterranean?