Tipping the Balance – How to find Plan B and write your Midpoint

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

As with all things chased with dogged persistence, the middle of my first book, Divided Elements, is growing larger and larger as it comes within reach. Not the general middle of the second act, but the specific middle – the actual halfway point. With the WIP at just over 42,000 words, first plot point reactions and repercussions are a distant memory and it’s time that the fun and games of the first part of Act II give way to the business end of the story.

Which brings me, and therefore us, to the Midpoint.

For me, the Midpoint has two definitions – a functional one and an allegorical one – both of which are equally important; as it should be with something called a midpoint.

The functional definition articulates the Midpoint as the middle point (shock! who saw that coming?) – The point of your story that separates the first half from the second half; the mathematical halfway point that acts like a signpost, directing you 45,000 words that way to the start of your story and 45,000 words this way to the end of your story.

That way to the beginning, this way to the end (Photo courtesy of Violscraper, Flickr Creative Commons)

That way to the beginning, this way to the end
(Photo courtesy of Violscraper, Flickr Creative Commons)

In contrast, the allegorical definition is, obviously, more interesting. Many authors, readers and writing mentors identify the midpoint as the point at which everything changes. I don’t agree. Everything can’t change – that would mean that we are reading a completely different story; and there is a very big difference between a new direction and a new story.

And so, for me, the midpoint is not just a distance marker set to the middle. It is a fulcrum. And the definition of a fulcrum is so much more interesting than the definition of a mere middle point:

A fulcrum is the “point or support about which a lever pivots” (wikipedia), the “thing that plays a central or essential role in an activity, event, or situation” (oxford dictionary), or “any of various structures in an animal serving as a hinge or support” (free dictionary) – and yes, my story is an animal; sometimes all wet licks and puppy yelps of excitement and sometimes a netherworld beast determined to wreak havoc…

So, the midpoint is the point on which the story shifts its balance – the centrepoint of the see-saw that facilitates the shift from a) the safety of being down on the ground, legs crouched and ready to spring, to b) the wild abandon and panic of being airborne with legs dangling and gravity resisting.

Finding your story's tipping point (Photo courtesy of Simpleinsomnia via Flickr Creative Commons)

Finding your story’s tipping point
(Photo courtesy of Simpleinsomnia via Flickr Creative Commons)

 

And that point, in any story, is the realisation that something needs to change – that Plan A isn’t working or isn’t sufficient or isn’t right anymore and that a Plan B is needed.

Plan A is the first part of the second act – the plan that is borne of the shock of the first plot point; borne of reactions and naiveté and resistance and ignorance and general hubris of the protagonist who finds themselves in a new world they didn’t want, but nonetheless got. But the reveal of the midpoint lifts the veil and forces consideration, development and implementation of a Plan B.

For me, Plan B comes back to triple loop learning – with the protagonist deciding that either the HOW (actions), the WHAT (strategy) or the WHY (motivation) is sabotaging their goal.

When the second part of the second act is driven by a “HOW” Plan B, the Protagonist is shown to change how they achieve their goals. Consider the following storyline – A girl has lost her lucky charm and she decides (in Act II, Part 1) to  try to find the all-powerful magus who will be able to restore it to her. In this first part of Act II, the girl attempts to find the all-powerful magus by teaming up with a private detective. At the midpoint, she discovers that the private detective is just another hack and comes up with a new plan – Plan B – to find the magus. Her actions change.

In a “WHAT” Plan B, it’s not the how that is holding the Protagonist back, it is the what. For this type of midpoint, the private detective is the real deal and working with him is the right way to find the magus, but the problem is that the magus is just a myth – a bad Wizard of Oz fake. So the girl and the detective come up with a new plan to find her lucky charm. Her strategy changes.

And then there is the “WHY” Plan B, the nuclear game changer. What the protagonist is doing is keeping her on the right path to her goals, and she is doing all of the necessary actions perfectly. The magus is the real deal (definitely all-powerful and fully capable of restoring the girl’s lucky charm) and the detective is brilliant at finding him. But somewhere along the way, the protagonist realises that what she really needs to do is let go of her lucky charm. Her motivation changes and her new Plan B is to let go of the charm and create her own luck.

And it is the midpoint that kicks off this Plan B. In the “How” scenario, the midpoint could be an amateur mistake made by the detective – causing the protagonist to question his credentials and decide to go it alone. In the “What” scenario, the midpoint could be the detective tripping over his own shoelaces and falling into the tech haven of the nerd behind the magus illusion. In the “Why” scenario, the midpoint could be the culmination of lessons learned along the path of Act II, Part 1, teaching the protagonist that luck is earned and not gifted.

And so, to craft the midpoint, all you need to do is ask yourself, “What will tip the balance?”

Fighting the Blank Page – How to Beat Writer’s Block

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

Writer’s block – it happens to the best of us. You are brimming with the desire and motivation to write, but the spectre of the blank page has you sitting at your writing implement du jour in pure terror.

The white page syndrome is not an affliction unique to creative writers and aspiring authors – it happens to artists staring at a blank canvas, architects at a blank sheet, policy writers at a blank screen. For me, the white page syndrome is a function of three very specific preconceptions and perspectives:

1. ‘Nothingness’ is immense – The white page can sometimes seem infinite. It goes on forever and forever… and ever. Unless you do something to mark it. Similarly, the options for combatting the white page are also seemingly limitless. Where do you start? What do you choose?

2. The white page is purity – The white page is perfect in its nothingness. An icon of purity. White as the driven snow, virginal and untouched. And who might you be to think you can interrupt its purity with something that will always be less than its white perfection?

3. The white page offers no hints – With all the universe and beyond to choose from in selecting the words that will spill from your mind to the page, how do you figure out the write ones to end the nothingness and break the purity? The white page doesn’t help you, it just sits there mocking you with its never-ending emptiness.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Prickett, via Flickr Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of Andrew Prickett, via Flickr Creative Commons

 

I find the first two problems easier to combat:

1. Limit your choices – Before you start writing, narrow down your choices. It’s the same with all decisions in life – what should I have for dinner, where do I plan my next holiday, what shirt should I wear, what book should I buy next? Rather than rattle through a hundred or so options that are easily available, narrow them down. What should I have for dinner? Thai, Italian or Japanese? Chicken, Pork or Lamb? Chips and Salad or Veges and Mash? Where do I go for my next holiday? Beach, Countryside or Snow? Europe, Africa or Middle East? Cultural Hub or Natural Wonderland? 

Choosing between two or three options is much easier than struggling with a hundred. And each choice will lead to related ones, until you’re in Cuba sipping on mojitos and eating bbq pork with sauce dripping down your fingers.

2. Pop that cherry – First times are typically and universally awkward. Make it easier on yourself and just put anything on that page to take away the pressure of interrupting the white. Draw a squiggle or smiley face in your notebook. Type out a row of asterisks, change the background of your page to an ugly vomit green, mash your hands on the keyboard to bring up a garbled mess as a header paragraph. Things can only get better from there.

 

My solution to the third problem has only dawned upon me recently. And I love it:

3. FInish (and, therefore, start) mid-sentence – I used to finish my writing spells at clear breaks – at the end of a beat, scene or chapter. But all that did was introduce a new beginning – a new white page, if you will – for me to conquer the next time. Beginnings are tough.

When I was in school, my favourite activities were the ones where the teacher would give me a piece of paper with one half of a dissected image and I would fill in the other side.

Start your creativity from the middle of something else (Derived from photo courtesy of Kenny Louie via Flickr Creative Commons)

Start your creativity from the middle of something else
(Derived from photo courtesy of Kenny Louie via Flickr Creative Commons)

Or the ones where she would start a story with a sentence and the kid next to her would write the next, and the kid next to him would write the next, and so on until it was my turn to add the next piece.

It’s easier to be creative when you have a starting point to build on. So, recently, I have stopped my writing process mid-sentence. To give you an example – tonight’s writing session ended with this:

He sits closer to her, his shoulder resting lightly against her own. This close she can see

What? What can she see? I don’t know yet, either. It’s like a mini cliffhanger for myself. Instead of the thing that makes me turn the page or tune in next week, it’s the thing that will ramp up my eagerness to write tomorrow. I won’t have to struggle with the blank page, because there is a springboard for me to jump off, a starting point full of unknowns and promise.

And that, dear reader, is how I plan to beat writers block.

Supporting Indie Authors

Indie authors don’t have the benefit of corporate machines behind them to generate awareness and excitement about their works, which is why reviews and recommendations from readers are so important for generating the kind of exposure that can lead to sales.

Support an indie author - write a review (image courtesy of Prad Prathivi, via Flickr Creative Commons)

Support an indie author – write a review
(image courtesy of Prad Prathivi, via Flickr Creative Commons)

Recently, I wrote about the importance of community for indie authors and self-publishers. To practice what I preach and engage more fully within this community, I recently set up an account with Booklikes. 

Booklikes is pretty much the blog version of Goodreads – a place where you can discuss the books you love and hate in detail.

My Booklikes blog – pen, ink and pixels – is dedicated to reviewing the indie and self-published books that inspire, engage and challenge me. It is part karma-generator (giving back to the indie community that I love and that supports me) and part journal of discovery (a commitment to proactively seeking out indie books to read and enjoy).

I’ve just posted my first review – discussing my reaction to eden Hudson’s “How to Kill Yourself in a Small Town” – a book with great characters and a light, youth-with-attitude touch (despite the ominous title). Every seven reviews, I’ll post a summary here on my [w]rite of passage blog in celebration of the joys of reading great fiction.

I hope it inspires and encourages you to seek out your own indie masterpieces and share the love by writing your own review or recommendation…

Art vs Science in Writing: Antagonistic or Symbiotic?

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

Recently, I strayed from my usual posts on tips, tricks and techniques on how to write and let loose with a burst of creative writing. It was an unfiltered stream of consciousness piece that captured a pure moment of joy, a snapshot in time, an unedited response to life. I was surprised at how many people liked it, which got me thinking – was I spending too much time reflecting on the science of writing and not enough on the  art  of writing? And that got me thinking about how the science and art of writing, of literature, and of creativity generally, are related…

All artforms are a delicious meld of art and science.

Art vs Science

Art vs Science
(image courtesy of Zach Baranowski, via Flickr Creative Commons)

Music is heavily grounded in science, with its mathematical progression of notes and chords, its meticulous tuning of tensions to precise values, and its consistently-timed beats in meter signatures written as mathematical fractions. Our understanding of music is grounded in the fundamental science that tells us hitting a certain shaped object, of a certain density and material, at a certain velocity, will result in a sound of particular pitch, volume and timbre. Our ability to perceive music is also grounded in the science of physics and biology. And yet, in spite of all this science, there is that something else. The soul of the music. The part that can’t be captured by mathematical equations or scientific models. That intuitive understanding that a formulaic approach to creation will, in the end, leave the music devoid of creativity.

Literature is no different. Its science manifests in the hard and soft rules that abound in writing advice published in books, articles, websites and blogs (like this one). Hard rules – grammar, spelling, punctuation – speak more to the fundamentals of legible, written communication. Soft rules – develop your antagonist, don’t forget the inciting incident and plot points, ensure every scene has tension or conflict – speak more to the best practice of creative writing. And whilst it is good to remember the science of writing (especially for a debut indie author such as myself), it is important to not overlook the art of writing – the joy, the creativity, the unedited, unfiltered emotional response that writing (and reading) sucks from us.

So, in an effort to live this beautiful dichotomy of art and science, I am going to occasionally intersperse my observations on writing compelling fiction with random outbursts of emotion at the art of writing.

I hope you join the conversations on both – because good art and important science are always enhanced by considered and interesting discussion.

Utopia

Is there anything more soul-satifying, deeply engaging or expressly utopian than that moment when you find yourself immersed in writing and surrounded by music?

I sit here, night deep in its dominance, finding new depths and opportunities in my story, falling in love with my characters and yearning to see for myself the world that I am creating. All the while, harps and harmonies play out into this small room I type in. A room cluttered with a jumble of remnants from past lives and potential new lives and warmed by a small bar heater whose strength comes from its sentimental value as much as its technology.

Inspiration and memories deeper than space abound in a mundane setting, calling to me from melodies, words, rhythms, sentences, beats, transitions and lyrics. A world captured by bytes. The genius of poets and artists shifting with each shuffling of binary code.

And within this beautiful dichotomy and contradiction of simplicity and complexity, I am alive.

Utopia, Vitality, Dreams and Destinies.

And the award goes to…

very-inspiring-blogger-award

I was delighted to receive word today that the very talented, supportive and generous Ronovan (famously of Ronovan Writes) had nominated me for my first ever award – the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I love this award, not only because it is my first, but also because it has that delicious Willy-Wonka-fantastic-chocolate-creation kinda ring to it.

For those of you that are yet to meet Ronovan, allow me to introduce him:

Being what is called a Southern Gentleman, which is something one may be born with a right to but must earn through the years, I long for the ability to convey the images through word of how sunshine glosses the dark leaves of a magnolia tree as the scent of the snow white blossoms drift lazily with the breeze and clings to the sun-kissed hair of one who is a lady in every word but action.

Now, in order to accept this award there are a few rules I need to follow:

1. Thank and link to the amazing person who nominated you (check!)
2. List the rules and display the award (check!)
3. Share seven facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
5. Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you (check and check!)

 

As for the seven facts about myself:

i. Since fully immersing myself in the challenge of learning this craft we call fiction writing, I have begun to see new possibilities for all the unfinished manuscripts I have abandoned over the years (and must now resist their siren calls until I have finished Divided Elements!)

ii. I am a reluctant logophile – I hold a B Arts (majoring in International Relations), a Master of International and Community Development, a Graduate Certificate in Journalism and a Master of Environmental Science. I love studying, because I love learning. I hate studying, because studying.

iii. I LOVE words. I love reading them, I love writing them, I love listening to them in spoken word, poetry slams, lyrics and nonsensical babblings. I LOVE them. My favourite words are like my favourite songs – great meaning and lyrical aesthetic.

iv. My favourite X-man is Gambit – who can resist a Cajun boy raised by thieves and assassins who comes complete with a wry sense of humour, vulnerable sense of bravado, killer French accent and the ability to kinetically charge playing cards into weapons of destruction? (Not me, obviously).

v. I can play A, D and G on the guitar (as well as E), but have not started a band…yet.

vi. The first and only time I was sent to the school Principal was in Year 11 when I was caught wearing unsanctioned, unofficial and certainly unappreciated Elvis socks.

vii. I am passionate about fighting ignorance and injustice and desperate to make a small but significant difference in this tragedy and comedy of human life played out on a chunk of rock hurtling through immense space and unforgiving time.

 

Enough about me, on to my nominations. These are ten blogs that inspire, motivate, entertain and challenge me:

1. Janice Hardy’s Fiction University
2. Derek Murphy’s CreativINDIE
3. K.M. Weiland’s Helping Writers Become Authors
4. Joel Friedlander’s The Book Designer
5. Fred Colton
6. Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas’ Beyond Paper Editing
7. S.E. Sinkhorn’s Maybe Genius
8. Sara Whitford’s Writing Journal
9. Kristy Acevedo’s Writing Challenge
10. Writers in the Storm

Wait a second! I hear you say. The rules said fifteen blogs! So they did. How about you help me finish the list? Comment with details of blogs you think deserve some love and recognition and I’ll update the list with my five favourites.

And with that, I will conclude this post – I can hear the Academy musicians getting antsy…

SWOT your Antagonist: Driving the middle of your story with well-rounded characters

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

Ah, ‘the middle’ – bemoaned the world over. Middle child syndrome causing siblings to feel overlooked and resentful; middle of the road thrown out in conversations to denote something boring and unoriginal; middle sections tortured by never-ending diets and exercise regimes. Even the adjective – middling – is a disaster, sending otherwise attractive nouns (like income, skill and appeal) into mediocrity.

I’m at that stage in my WIP where I am revising, fleshing-out and drafting my novel’s middle. The occasional euphoria at seeing that mandarin/sunrise orange of my Scrivener progress bar is always subject to the unease about the expectations of a great middle. Recently, I blogged about how I’ve discovered a range of business tools and techniques that are assisting me to tackle the challenge of writing a great middle – from triple-loop learning to gap analysis. Today I want to talk about SWOT analysis.

The common culprit behind many writing problems is a distinct lack of conflict. For problematic middles, poor or non-existent conflict is a killer. When you consider that the first plot point is the transition from the set-up of conflict in your first act to the realisation and consequences of that conflict in the second act, the importance of infusing well-developed and attention-grabbing conflict into your story’s middle is a no-brainer.

The easiest way to generate conflict in your book is to delegate it to your antagonist. Often, as authors, we are so caught up in the plight of our protagonists that we place too much a burden on them to carry the story for the entire novel. Middles are a great opportunity to give our protagonists a break and let the antagonists carry the story for a bit. In order to ensure our antagonists’ shoulders are broad enough to carry the load, we need to build them up. Developed, well-rounded and authentic characters are critical for generating solid conflict and a great technique for writing these characters is to put them through a SWOT analysis.


SWOT Analysis

SWOT Character Analysis for novel and book writing

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats
(image courtesy of Baba G, via Flickr Creative Commons)

SWOT analysis is a business analysis technique, which, despite some debate about its ongoing relevance in the business world, still offers useful application in the business of fiction writing and character development.

SWOT analysis comprises the identification, discussion and evaluation of an entity’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats – hence the acronym. Implicit in these terms is the potential for all sorts of conflict and tension – on an internal and an external level.

SWOT Analysis-Character Development-Internal and External Conflict

Generating internal and external conflict with SWOT Analysis

As indicated by the graphic above, STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES evaluate the characteristics internal to the character (in this case the antagonist), whereas OPPORTUNITIES and THREATS articulate the circumstances external to the character. Let’s look at each one in turn.

S is for STRENGTH

Strengths are the advantages an antagonist carries with them into the battle against the protagonist. Like greatness, some antagonists are born with their strength, others achieve their strength and others have their strength thrust upon them. Strengths can be skills, attitudes, knowledge, superpowers or positions of authority. Moby Dick was born with his ferocity, strength and size in Melville’s classic, whereas X-man Magneto had his ability to manipulate metals thrust upon him at an age of manifestation. Misery’s Annie Wilkes achieved her physical dominance over Paul Sheldon due to his misfortunate accident, whereas Fahrenheit 451’s Captain Beatty worked his way up to the position of Fire Chief.

Developing or intensifying your antagonist’s strengths will help to further your story’s tension and conflict. 

W is for WEAKNESS

Weaknesses are the vulnerabilities in our antagonists’ armour. Sometimes the weakness can be a a less-than-concrete commitment to the cause – e.g. an antagonist that ends up falling in love with the protagonist or an antagonist that is thrust into a family feud but has no direct, personal cause in it. Other times the weakness can be time-limited -e.g. a storm that cannot go on forever, or a superpower that can only be used for a period of time, beyond which the antagonist is severely exhausted. Weaknesses can be physical flaws or intellectual deficiencies, emotional connections (or disconnections) or problematic attitudes  (e.g. over-inflated egos, delusions, misperceptions).

Exposing and testing your antagonist’s weaknesses will bolster hopes for an eventual protagonist win.

O is for OPPORTUNITY

Opportunities are the events and circumstances that are generated external to your antagonist and often beyond your antagonist’s control – A corrupt official that allows your antagonist the opportunity to get fraudulently elected; a once-in-a-hundred-year storm that provides the conditions for advantageous genetic mutation; the arrival of an exotic stranger that allows the antagonist to cast suspicion away from themselves; a painful rejection that allows the inner antagonist to question the protagonist’s hopes and dreams. Opportunities are not borne of the character, but antagonists can catalyse or facilitate them (by nudging a character here, or manipulating a circumstance there) and will almost always capitalise on them.

Giving your antagonist the means to capitalise on opportunity will help drive action, tension and conflict. 

T is for THREAT

Threats are the events and circumstances generated by external entities that, if realised, will undermine your antagonist and possibly exacerbate their weaknesses or mitigate the advantages of their strengths. The most obvious threat to an antagonist is the developing strength and advantageous opportunities of your protagonist, but there are other, more creative, threats to consider. Distractions can offer viable threats to your antagonist – in much the same way as putting out multiple spot fires can take its toll on the ability to fight a firestorm. Threats can also come from the inside – a minion who dreams of a coup d’etat or a corrupt official who is willing to be bought by the highest bidder.

Plaguing your antagonist with a range of threats not only helps out the protagonist, but also gives you the opportunity to craft a story of two sides on the foundation of two fully-realised main characters. 

How does your antagonist  shape up after a SWOT analysis? 

Link

Got that feeling that something just isn’t right with your work in progress? Check out my recent post on PublishingInsider for details on how a business management tool can help diagnose the problem.

How to diagnose a sick story using Triple-Loop Learning

How to diagnose a sick story using Triple-Loop Learning  (image courtesy of Dr.Farouk, via Flickr Creative Commons)

 

 

 

Mind the Gap: Writing the story between your plot points using Gap Analysis

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

Once upon a time, I used to be a pantser (one of those people who writes by the seat of their pants, not knowing where the next sentence will take them). I was a pantser, not because I liked the thrill of the unknown, but because I didn’t know about story structure. It was only when I decided to take writing seriously (and became desperate to finish just one novel, rather than add to the pile of unfinished manuscripts dying a lonely death in old computer hard drives built in the day when 100MB of memory was HUGE), that I was introduced to the Three Act Structure.

With my newfound enamourment of the three act structure and a recent purchase of Scrivener, I thought my days of writing failure was over. In the time since I embarked on this ‘serious writing’ adventure with my WIP, Divided Elements, I have crafted a world description, character profiles and a story outline that I am really excited about. My word count is growing, but I’m finding that it speeds up when I am drafting scenes that occur in the major plot points (the inciting incident, the first plot point, the midpoint) and slows down considerably when I’m crafting the in-between.

I’ve blogged about being stuck in the middle previously, and concluded that (while getting from A to B is difficult), it helps to think of it as a road trip – you need to know your start point, your destination and the type of route you want to take. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately – when I’m staring at the computer screen, when I’m in the shower, before I go to bed, when I’m at work surrounded by other tasks demanding my attention… A lot.

Sometimes being stuck at work when you would rather be writing has its advantages. It was while considering my dilemma at work, that I started to think about my WIP in project management terms. With any work project, businesses are looking to make an improvement – to advance from their current unsatisfactory and flawed state to their ideal future. They set goals and then they figure out how to reach them. Basically, it is the same process authors go through with our protagonists – we have them in one place at the start of the story and use our novel to move them to a new endpoint.

Intrigued by the cross-over application, I took it a step further and started applying other project management concepts to my WIP.

Let’s start this week by looking at Gap Analysis.

Mind-The-Gap-Novel-Writing-Mikhaeyla-Kopievsky

Courtesy of Jaina via Flickr Creative Commons (http://bit.ly/1za8c25)

Gap Analysis is all about articulating your ideal future and your current situation and then comparing the two to a) identify how they are different and b) define the gap that exists between them. Once you’ve compared the two, start to list the contributing factors that generate these two states – those things that actively produce or indirectly facilitate their existence. Now start thinking about the obstacles that prevent moving away from the current state and/or towards the ideal state – the lack of resources or skills, rules and regulations, cultural perceptions and attitudes, etc, etc. As GI Joe exclaims, Knowing is Half the Battle! Now that you know where you are, where you want to be, what’s going to help you get there and what’s going to stop you – you’re ready to start planning strategies to optimise/maximise the contributing factors and overcome/eliminate the obstacles.

The great thing about Gap Analysis is that you can apply it to the spaces in between all of your novel’s plot points. At each plot point, ask yourself: What is the current state of my protagonist’s world? What is the current natural order? What are the (physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, attitudinal…) features that currently define my protagonist? What is the current state of my protagonist’s relationships?

Now look forward and ask the same questions for your next plot point. How are the answers different? What are the key differences? Can you categorise them into broader differences (do you have a group of differences that relate to a change in attitude, or in new opportunities or in knowledge and skills)? Often articulating these differences will help you to more easily identified the contributing factors and obstacles – what’s holding the protagonist in their current status quo, what’s stopping them from moving on? What’s stopping the protagonist from moving towards the situation of the next plot point? What do they need to get there and why don’t they have that yet?

Protagonist-Obstacles-Novel-Mikhaeyla-Kopievsky

Courtesy of Luc De Leeuw via Flickr Creative Commons (original at: http://bit.ly/1s2zJOa)

Now that you’ve identified your start point and end point and have surveyed the width, length and depth of the huge chasm that separates them, you’re ready to start building the bridge between them. Thankfully, building the bridge is as easy as giving your protagonist what they need and taking away the obstacles in their path. The fun part is deciding how you will give and how you will take away (insert evil laugh) :)

Stay tuned for future posts on how to navigate the in-between using other project management techniques…