Story Telling 101, Part 2

Changing the outlineIn Story Telling 101, I showed you how to build the basic story outline from the original fairy tale. Now it’s time to tweak things just a little to add your own flare to the story. I’m going to begin adjusting this story line starting with Act II Scene 2. Instead of having the huntsman alerted by the loud sounds of the wolf’s snoring, I think it would be more likely that the huntsman would be alerted by a cry from Red as she fights with the wolf.


Instead of the wolf eating Red, I’m going to have the wolf attacking Red. I’m also eliminating the action of the wolf falling asleep. These changes make our heroine, Red, a little less of a helpless maiden and the huntsman is now a partner to the action, not the main thrust of it.


However, in making these changes we also need to make changes to Act III. After all, the rescue has already taken place by the huntsman entering the battle. I’m going to eliminate Act II Scene 3 and move that to Act III Scene I, since the form our rescue takes has radically changed. The Huntsman investigates the cry, hears the fighting, and enters the cabin.

Act II. Granny’s House
Scene 2. Wolf Revealed (Wolf and Red)
A. Wolf deceives Red
B. Red discovers deception
C. Wolf attacks Red
Act III. Wolf Vanquished
Scene 1. Huntsman Enters (Huntsman, Wolf)
A. Huntsman investigates cry
B. Huntsman hears fighting
C. Huntsman enters cabin


It’s time to write the outline for our final climatic scene which leaves the reader with their happy ending. In Scene 2 of Act III, the action starts by the Huntsman distracting the Wolf, Red kills the wolf, and then Red rescues Granny. Here is what Act III Scene 2 looks like:


Act III. Wolf Vanquished
Scene 2. Wolf defeated (Red, Huntsman, Granny, Wolf)
A. Huntsman distracts Wolf
B. Red kills Wolf
C. Red Rescues Granny
D. All celebrate


Of course, if I wanted to make this a series of stories, I might allow the wolf to escape rather than be killed so that he can come back again later to threaten Red and her family, perhaps when the Huntsman isn’t there to help. If I wanted to make this the prelude to a romance, I might add a third scene with the Huntsmen walking Red home – purely for her safety, of course. The point is that just by making simple adjustments to the flow of the outline, you change the story structure and start to make it your own. In the next post, I’ll show you how to adapt this outline to fit almost any genre you might want to write.

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