To pick up from key one:

I know full well everyone has a story to tell, but if you want to actually make a living or even just get your story to the masses, you MUST take the time to learn and understand the elements of story.  And of course, how they are represented in the 1st 10 pages.

There are six at the core:

1)   Theme

2)   Plot

3)   Title

4)   Beginning, Middle and End

5)   Protagonist

6)   Antagonist

On Plot:

Plot is defined as the main events presented by the writer in an inter-related sequence of events. Not to be interchanged with PREMISE, which is the world the writer presents these events in.

Your main character is the one that is PRIMARILY impacted by the action of the plot.  This is important to note, because (also much to my astonishment) I have come across many a story where the writer is confused about who the protagonist is, or to be fair, in the course of crafting the story a different character emerges as the main protagonist and the writer is so immersed in the work they fail to notice the paradigm shift.

The best told stories (even picture books) are stories that have both an external plot and an internal plot.  While both are integral to a good story they do not both serve as THE MAIN plot.  THE MAIN PLOT represents only the action or activity in the physical world.  SUB PLOTS are the internal reactions, motivation and emotional effects and consequences of the external plot. Even in multiple or seemingly divergent plots, the action must flow in the same general direction.

Let’s use a simple example shall we?  I’ll use something started in Novel form and was adapted to film in many iterations one we are all familiar with…

An inhuman boy must prove himself worthy in order to become real.  The events that the writer(s) chose to transpire are the events that the ‘boy’ is an active participant in and thus define the main plot of Pinocchio — (and A.I.) Note it is not centered around the parent that also longs for the real boy, because the puppet, boy, robot, whatever form – is the one not only primarily impacted by the action, but also the one that drives the action for the bulk of the story. (The parent is the B story.)

You see how plot also helps define your one-line pitch?

So, because PLOT is the main events presented by the writer to propel the main character through the story — the more that happens the more the plot thickens — and the more the audience is riveted.

Now, as far as your 1st 10 pages are concerned, clearly you cannot achieve all the subtleties of plot and subplot so early on because you want to keep your audience engaged throughout.  But what you should accomplish very early enough on, ideally even in the first page, is the first event of the plot (and depending on your story p.o.v. it could be a sub-plot/internal event). Every journey starts with one step, and if you want your audience to go on a journey with you and your characters, it’s never too early to take that first step.

To put this second key on the same ring as the first (theme): Theme is what gives meaning to activity of the PLOT (and purpose to the actions of the characters).  So, in many cases your plot will be stated before your theme.

All six of these keys will be joined together to demonstrate how they all serve one another in a good story at the end of the series.

Title is next…

Stay tooned.

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