Sunday, October 13, 2013


I am hundreds of miles away from my home in Kentucky, working at an animation studio in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is the job that is paying most of our bills. For the past 14 months, I have been working away from home for stretches of six weeks at a time.

This separation from Cathie puts a damper on our daily collaboration. No matter how much time we spend on the phone or Skype, it's not the same as being next to a warm body. We work best when we are together in one room, bouncing ideas off each other...challenging one another...and then, kissing and making up.

Fortunately, we are at the stage on our present writing project where I concentrate on the basic structure of the story. Our Original Sin City novels each have a basic historical event, theme, and major plot through which multiple character story arcs are woven. This enables us to present a textured reading experience.

In essence, our novels are multiple novellas that are interwoven.

For the past week, I've been pulling together the first novella's three act structure. I'll use this structure for all the novellas. It enables us to control the pacing of the novel's overall story arc.

This is exactly how I plan my animation—I plant guideposts to hit. I then time my actions and create my individual drawings/words/sentences.

In both cases, I give the characters (drawn and verbally created) room to organically grow. Hopefully, the result will surprise the audience with the reality of the world we've created.

Check out our 3 Act Structure Outline.

Act One
Setup: Location/Relationships
1) What character wants/goals:
a) Start in the middle of struggle
b) Emotional need/want: hate, love, jealousy, respect from others
c) Physical need/want: hunger for sex, money, food, shelter

2) What's in the way:
a) Other person(s)
b) Self--lack of talent, knowledge, common sense, impatience, arrogance, self delusion
c) Confrontation

Act Two
3) Tries to overcome obstacles
a) Initiates personal actions towards goal(s)
b) Family members attempt to thwart success--ratchets up the negative feelings--feeds the desire for revenge
c) Outside opportunity from 3rd party appears
d) Tries to grab for it

Act Three
4) Climax
a) Confrontation between all involved
5) Resolution: Success/Failure
Points to future conflicts (both external and external)

For those who want to see how we interweave several story arcs, check out our "Original Sin City Sampler". Only $0.99 on Amazon.  

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