Friday, April 13, 2012

A to Z Challenge: L is for L.O.C.K.




Welcome to Day 12 of the A to Z Challenge

Many bloggers have chosen a theme for the A to Z.  My pledge since becoming a blogger is to post about writing, so for this event, I will being posting about what I've learned about writing a novel.

________

L is for LOCK:  to join or unite firmly by interlinking or intertwining. (Dictionary.com)

Today, I’m using an acronym that spells out the word LOCK.  This is a device established by James Scott Bell in his book on craft, Plot & Structure, a must read for all fiction writers.  I will paraphrase his well-developed L.O.C.K. theory:

L is for Lead:  If you go back to my April 9th post on heroes, you’ll see a complete list of what makes a good lead.  As the author, it is your job to make him interesting, to dig deep inside his head and make him compelling.  No story is good or complete without a single lead.

O is for Objective:  Likewise, if you go back to my April 7th post on goal, you’ll see that an objective is the driving force that generates forward momentum.  It could be that the protagonist wants to get something or to get away from something.  Whatever it is, according to Bell, it should be one dominant objective and should be essential to his well-being.

C is for Confrontation:  This is the oppositional forces at work from other characters and outside organizations.  It is an element that is used throughout the story, but most especially at the climax.

K is for Knockout:  The knockout is the big climax, the highest point of drama at the very end.  It’s the final clash where it appears the opposition might actually win.  It should have the greatest amount of tension, stakes, and conflict, and display how the protagonist has changed, both within his inner and his outer conflicts in order to most satisfy the reader.  It should be unpredictable and last minute, meaning it should be organized so all the plot points peak in a single moment.  Lastly, it gives resolution, ties up loose ends, and gives the reader a feeling of resonance.                    

Do you have a recipe for a successfully plotted story?  

24 comments:

Lynn said...

Hi Nancy - thanks for coming by my blog.

I don't really write for publication (except for my wee blog), but I find the process fascinating. Thanks for this peek into what makes it happen!

Donna K. Weaver said...

I've got this book! I so need to go back and read it again. =D

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Cool, I've actually been doing it right!

jabblog said...

Which came first, the plot or the character? My stories evolve - that's to say, I have little or no idea what's going to happen until I start writing and then usually the characters take over;-)

(Visiting from A-Z blogging challenge)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I love this book. LOCK is a brilliant concept. I made sure I had mine figured out before starting my edits. It helped a lot with getting my character right.

Heather M. Gardner said...

You make it all sound so easy! This is a great way to remember our job!
Heather

L.G.Smith said...

I have yet to read any of James Scott Bell's books on writing. I really must.

Jack said...

Thanks for this! This is a wonderful acronym I will not soon forget!

Eva Gallant said...

You continue to be informative!

Gossip_Grl said...

Thanks for sharing these writing tips.

cleemckenzie said...

Great acronym! Easy to remember and right on in the advice category.

Susan Roebuck said...

I haven't read that book...my education isn't complete, so I'd better put that right. Imaginative way of getting L out, useful too - it's made me think.

Chris Fries said...

Nancy, your blog is a L.O.C.K!

"Literate, Outstanding, Creative, and Kick-Ass!"

Gina Gao said...

I haven't read the book yet, but I really hope I do soon. Thanks for sharing.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Joylene said...

Nancy, you've done a terrific job of listing what makes a good book. Can't do better than that. I agree with the others, you rock!

Al Penwasser said...

Once again, I learn at the feet of the master.
Trust me, I'm sitting on the floor. The repo men came and took all the chairs away.

M Pax said...

I don't always define it that way, and I rarely plan the climax ahead of time. But I know how it's supposed to end before I start. That's a great way to boil it down.

KatieO said...

Putting this book on my TBR list right now. Thanks for this post!

Great to meet you thru AtoZ!

Arlee Bird said...

Good theme for the Challenge. I think the recipe that you've put forth here is one that works well.

Now following your blog.



Lee
A Few Words
An A to Z Co-host blog

klahanie said...

Hi Nancy,
And what the "L" is going on...Sorry, just me being silly :)
A very clever acronym. And with 'Keenness, Editing and Yes!' or the acronym that is the 'KEY' to your success :)
Hey, I tried :) A plotted story? Me? Heck, I do nonsensical, random, disjointed musings.
Take care and have fun with this challenge that brings further awareness of the alphabet.
Your starstruck fan, Gary :)

Mark Koopmans said...

This is a LOCK to get my best post of the day award :)

Empty Nest Insider said...

The "LOCK " device is a great writing strategy! It really steers the reader and keeps them interested. Julie

blissflower1969 said...

I like the acronym. Good things to keep in mind while writing.

Swinging through from the A to Z page. Good luck on the rest of the challenge!

Stephsco said...

Plotting and conflict is what I need to work on. I have a tendency to want things to work out for my characters, but that makes for a dull story. I've heard of this method, I'm taking notes!

I've read Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass which has similarly helpful structure about plot.