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Weekly Writing Wrap Up! Step Five: Acts and Tentpoles

Whoops! Sorry for the delay. But here we are, all the way through Step Five. Can you believe it’s been over a month already?

Soon it will be time to start on the rough draft itself. I may start posting writing exercises or drabbles on here. Comments, opinions?


The opening scene revolves around Tori’s “allergy” to computers, a key part of the plot that needs to be introduced early, and her isolation at school and home. It’s probably going to be a scene about frying a computer at school due to a substitute teacher being unaware of Tori’s particular quirk. (Her medical files state that she has a genetic condition of some sort, too much metal in her blood, who knows—suffice to say, the teachers and students think it’s bizarre but take it at face value. Let me just put the words PLOT POINT here in big bold letters. Okay? Okay.)

Act I

Act I is Tori’s introduction to the adventure and our introduction to her life. We’ll see her at school, at home, experiencing her usual day-to-day life, and her first introduction to one of the Wyswrii—the “invisible monster” that invades her home (probably Tabak). We’ll also see the inside of her father’s lab, meet the Nanoia, and introduce the other two Wyswrii.

1st Doorway

Tori crosses the threshold into Act II when she rescues the captured Wyswrii and the Nanoia escape confinement. Her father is left behind in the chaos.

Act II

Act II covers Tori traveling with the Wyswrii to the Intergalactic Council Whose Name Is Still Yet To Be Determined. Cue human/alien getting-to-know-you hijinks. She’ll learn the origin and extent of the Nanoia threat, why they’re on Earth, and the Wyswrii’s mission—the ultimate plan to destroy the Nanoia once and for all. Tori meets the Wyswrii’s mentor, Lra-Hna, and learns more about her own “quirk”.


Someone tries to sabotage the Council. The Council wants Tori to remain in custody. Tori stands up for herself, demands to return to Earth with the Wyswrii to save her father.


Back on Earth, the Nanoia are spreading, unknown to the humans, causing illness and, in some cases, death. Tori and the Wyswrii infiltrate a Nanoia “base” (for lack of a better word). Tori gets more comfortable with her abilities and grows closer with her new scaly friends. They uncover the true nature of the Nanoia’s plan—i.e. Big Bad Things For Everyone Everywhere. They learn the location of the Nanoia Central Core and Tori’s father.

2nd Doorway

The Wyswrii begin their assault on the Core, facing off against those infected by Nanoia, turned into loyal drones.

Act IV

The final battle to stop the Nanoia. Adventure, danger, confrontation, sacrifice, all those lovely things that make your pulse pound.


… Well, I won’t spoil everything.

Until Monday, lovelies! Next time—Step Six: Outline.

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Weekly Writing Wrap Up!


The people have spoken, and the people want giant alien lizards.

Excellent choice.

Thank you for voting! Now, onward to our Weekly Writing Wrap Up: Step Zero and Step One.

Step Zero: Concept

Since you already know the barebones concept already, here’s some extra details.

A. Nanite infestation that is slowly taking over the world, infecting humans and using them as puppets. Prolonged infection leads to mental/physical degradation and/or coma (still debating). Maybe coma is temporary after initial infection while nanites reproduce.

B. Giant alien lizard warriors. That is all. (Not really. They’re bounty hunters and/or soldiers of some sort, three brothers though not necessarily by blood. They can camouflage a la chameleons and can be practically invisible unless they move.)

C. Main character: Tori, teenage girl with a “computer allergy” (rather, electronics are allergic to her; anything with a microprocessor tends to fritz when she comes near). Father is a scientist, mother missing. She’s usually alone, since her father is a workaholic. Has a pet black cat, possibly with kittens.

Those are the seeds. Now we’ll just have to see what sprouts!

Step One: Plot

Nanoia: threat --> neutralized

The Nanoia are either already spreading or will shortly begin spreading at the beginning of the story. Humanity will be, for the most part, ignorant of the threat, thinking that maybe it’s some kind of newly mutated disease.

Tori + lizards: strangers --> family

The lizards track Tori because of Plot Related Reasons* and eventually rescue-nap her (like kidnapping, but from a life-threatening situation). Things start out scary, get awkward, get even more awkward, and slowly morph into interspecies fluffy friendship fun-times.

Tori: obedient --> assertive

Tori has been raised to stay out of the way, take care of herself, and intrude on her dad as little as possible. That’s going to have to change. *grin*

Thanks for reading! We’ll reconvene on Monday for Step Two: Character. Until then!


*I’m debating how much detail to put in these posts. I already know some plot twists/reveals that will shape the story, and I want everyone to be able to follow my process, but I also don’t want to ruin the suspense. Feel free to chime in with suggestions.

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Step Zero: Concept

Step ZeroThis isn’t a step, per se. I mean, if you write, you’ve probably done this part nine-hundred eighty-nine thousand five-hundred and sixty-two times. (Approximately.)

Step Zero is finding a concept.

Concepts are easy. Concepts are those little wisps of creativity that drift into your brain and make your inner muse sit up and go YES. Most writers have these multiple times daily, even if they don’t recognize them when they happen. Some refer to them as plot-bunnies (as in “ideas that breed like rabbits and gnaw on your brain”).

A lot of the time they start off with “What if?”

“What if there were magic powers in space?” (Star Wars.)

“What if an ogre, not a prince, saved a princess from a dragon?” (Shrek.)

“What if toys can move around but only when we’re not looking?” (Toy Story. Also, some of my nightmares. We won’t wade into that particular mental swamp…)

Sometimes it’s just a mental image – person, place, thing, what-have-you, and you build a story to expand that image.

Look at the franchise that’s evolved around the concept of “immortal alien traveling through time and space in a blue police box.” (Doctor Who.)

So for this week, I want you to pick your concept.

Choose something that makes your heart go pitter-pat, preferably something that’s been setting roots in your brain for a while, with some lovely plot ideas and characters already sprouting from it, since we’re going to tap into all that stored-up creativity. (Studies have shown that letting ideas stew for a little while—within reason—does help the creative process. See? Procrastination has a purpose.)

Once you have your concept, I want you to brainstorm.

People, places, plots, doesn’t matter. Get out a big sheet of paper or your brainstorming tool of choice—computer, Post-Its, bathroom mirror and a dry-erase marker (highly recommended, try it!), what-have-you—and just go nuts. Do this periodically over the next week, but be sure to collect all your ideas in one place for easy reference, either in a file on your computer or in a single notebook, however you want to do it. The key words here are one place and easy reference.

And as promised, I will let you choose which concept I’ll be building from during our experiment. You can cast your vote at the bottom of this post.

These concepts have both been through the brainstorming stage and are ready to head to the next level. Your choices are:

  • Nanoia: modern day Earth, a girl allergic to computers, giant lizard warriors from outer space (here to eat sushi and kick tail, and they’re all out of sushi), and a nanite virus threatening all mankind.
  • Aivia: Earth subjugated by mind-controlling aliens, a girl with psychic abilities, flying armor with shiny-glowy wings, and did I mention the mind-controlling aliens look like elves? (Sort of… if you squint.)

(These concepts are the intellectual property of Yours Truly, who will be well and truly put out if the next blockbuster and/or bestseller is based off of one of these choices.)

So, Concept and Brainstorm. We’ll reconvene Friday where I’ll announce the poll results and show you my own progress on Step Zero. (Of course, you’ll still have until Monday to finish up your own homework before we move on to Step One: Central Change.)

Until next time!