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About Digital Art / Hobbyist Dani May29/Female/United States Group :iconthewhimsycorner: TheWhimsyCorner
A World of Fantasy Awaits . . .
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Chapter 13: A Light in the Darkness
Chapter 12: A Very Unexpected Guest
It wasn’t long before we were over the bridge and back into Boston, but this time I had made sure Ilya knew to keep close and keep quiet. The Back Bay District was a known haven for raiders and Super Mutants alike, neither of which I had much of an answer for should we get caught. It was easy enough I supposed, Ilya was still moping over Valentine and hadn’t spoken a word since we’d left, but none of that mattered now. A synth’s a synth and I certainly wasn’t about to risk my neck for the likes of him
Even so, I looked back at Ilya, only to find her scowling off in the distance, refusing to so much as look me in the eye.
I sighed to myself. She could be such a child sometimes.
“Look, I know it doesn’t feel like it right now, but we did the right thing ditching the synth. The last thing we need is an Institute spy sni
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(Fallout) Chapter 12: A Very Unexpected Guest
Chapter 11: Way Back Home
"Hold your fire, hold your fire!" The yell echoed throughout the room as the figure doubled over in pain, but I kept my gun trained squarely on him, refusing to let the man out of my sight.
“Who are you? What are you doing here?!” I demanded as I approached the stranger on the ground.
“Ugh, the name’s Valentine, and there’s no need to be pointing that thing at me, so put it away, will ya?” 
“Valentine?” I said curiously as I lowered my gun. “Detective Valentine, from Diamond City? I’ve heard of you…”
“Yeah, and I’ve heard of you too, Jacob Burns. Guess I should have listened when they said you were prone to friendly fire…” The man groaned as he got to his feet, one hand clutching his injured side. 
But that’s when I saw it. 
A glint of steel as it reached up to adjust his
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(Fallout Novel) Chapter 11: Way Back Home
Chapter 10: Out of the Park & Under the Wire
We woke up the next morning in an abandoned townhouse, having gone as far as we could the day before. Luckily for us, the place had remained intact over the years and made for a great hideout throughout the night. Besides, we’d both been exhausted and were in need of a well-deserved rest. Ilya greeted the day with a pearly smile and a skip in her step now that she had gotten her way. I, on the other hand, was left on edge, wondering how on earth I managed to get myself into this situation.
There were a million questions running through my mind, none of which I had any answers to. How on earth were we supposed to find this thing? And what were we going to find at her father’s place that the Institute hadn’t found already? I wished there was another way out of this, but If the Institute was after this vault, then it just might be everything Ilya sa
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(Fallout Novel) Ch 10: Out of the Park

Ch 9: The Man Behind the Mask
Pure, unadulterated chaos.
People screamed as a flood of refugees came pouring into the plaza, desperate hands snatching up anything and everything in sight. Fights broke out all over the city as the residents ran terrified into their homes, leaving the poor traders to fend for themselves among the hungry masses. The guards struggled to contain the bedlam, overwhelmed by sheer numbers alone, but I saw more coming their way fully decked with riot gear and heavy artillery.
"W-what is happening?! My city! It's ruined!"
The Director stared aghast at the madness outside, watching his precious experiment crumble to the ground. I knew an opportunity when I saw one, and this was my chance.
"What have you d-!"
I turned and slugged the Director as hard as I could, knocking McDonough's fat body to the ground. I grabbed his gun and raced back through the door to find Il
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(Fallout Novel) Ch 9: The Man Behind the Mask
Chapter 8: The Mayor of Diamond City 

I was looking into the face of a nightmare.
His skin was deathly pale, his body stiff like rigor mortis. If I had thought the synths in the mine had been terrifying, I had no idea what terror could really look like. It was as if someone had scooped out the mayor's soul and stepped inside his body like a wrinkled old suit.
It was impossible to believe that this was the same man I'd been speaking to only moments before. That smile twisted even wider on his face, more inhuman with every passing second, and I felt myself break out into a cold sweat. My hands were shaking, my heart was thumping, and my mind was reeling as I collapsed into the nearest chair and just stared at the thing sitting across from me.
I knew what that was.
That's a synth.

It didn't matter how weak McDonough might have appeared, that… thing was the single most dangero
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(Fallout Novel) Ch 8: The Mayor of Diamond City
Chapter 7: Same Old Story, Whole New Century
On the front porch stood none other than the guard from the gate, his jaw clenched tight and a vein popping on his forehead. To make matters worse, he had Ilya in hand and what looked like a brand new laser pistol from the armory. My eyes flitted between all three of them before it dawned on me what must have happened.
You've got to be kidding me.

"Jacob Burns?" the man said more than asked. I looked at Piper, but she only shrugged as if to say, What do you want me to do about it?

Well shit.
"…Yeah?" I replied.
Without another word he grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and the next thing I knew we were being dragged off like a couple of common criminals. To my surprise, however, we passed right by the security office and instead headed straight for a li
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Ilya Astor Line Art by thelittleone Ilya Astor Line Art :iconthelittleone:thelittleone 3 0 Oh What Magic is This? by thelittleone Oh What Magic is This? :iconthelittleone:thelittleone 2 2
(Fallout) Ch 7: Same Old Story, Whole New Century
Chapter 6: Lost in the Outfield
We were packed in tighter than a can of Longneck Lukowski’s, with a smell that was twice as bad. Of all the carts we could have picked, we managed to find the one that was filled with fresh salvage scraped off the bottom of the Charles. The stench of rotting fish and mirelurk could have peeled the flesh off of a ghoul’s backside, but I held myself together as the cart slowly came to a stop. 
I looked out and watched as the driver walked into one of the newly constructed warehouses sitting on the edge of town. As soon as the coast was clear, we tore off the tarpaulin and clamored out as fast as we could. We only enjoyed a few short moments before we heard the driver coming back, and so we dashed down the darkened alleyways until at last, we were able to slip in with the rest of the crowd as they bustled f
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Carmen Sandiego Colored! by thelittleone Carmen Sandiego Colored! :iconthelittleone:thelittleone 7 0
Do you know that feeling when you jump? There’s a moment, and it’s only a moment, that you find yourself suspended. And you know you’re not really flying, but you know your feet have left the ground. And you ask yourself, what had been holding me down all this time? 
Then gravity catches up to you, and suddenly you’re not jumping anymore. 
You’re falling.
Who knew that’s what death would feel like?
It’s not that hard, just do it.
I stared through my translucent shoes and to the platform below, the ribbed metal covered in years of grime and loose debris. I sat on top of an old wooden horse frozen in mid-leap on a broken down carousel. Although, I wasn’t really sitting, more like hovering just centimeters above the surface. I didn’t like to touch things… haven’t ever since I “woke u
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Bovines on Bicycles
“Bovines? On bicycles?”, Muriel gawped at me like a great fat flounder. She stood in the doorway to my station room wearing the same drab pantsuit as she had the day before, her grey-speckled wings just grazing the ceiling. “Are you serious?”
“What? I thought it would be funny!”, I said as I flashed a cherub’s grin.
“You are a dream technician, you are not paid to be funny.” She glowered at me over her clipboard. “You are here to provide mortals with the insight and guidance needed to reach inner peace!”
Here we go again, I thought. 
I had been working in the Dream Department for about a decade now and was finally nearing the end of my probation period. In that short time I could honestly say that it was the most pointless job ever conceived at Divine Intervention, Inc, or in the known universe for that matter. The hours were terrible, the pay was a joke, and it was exactly as boring as you thin
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“It’s completely safe,” he reassured me. 
Another rumble shook the room and a stream of dust fell onto the paper he’d handed to me only moments ago. I glared at the man sitting across from me as he leaned back in his chair and shifted his weight uncomfortably, but said nothing more. I snatched the pen out of his hand and scrawled my name on the dotted line. 

Time was running out.
The glowing counter on my helmet’s transparent display ticked down the final minutes. The descent had felt like a lifetime, even at this velocity it had taken 27 hours falling in complete darkness. The tunnel had been dug for the experiment itself, lucky it was so easily converted for the mission. 
Yes, lucky.
I clutched the steel black canister in my hand, a loaded gun and I was the only one with the guts to pull the trigger. At the center, it was waiting for me. The machine had set off a chain reaction; a reaction, it seemed, no one fully und
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(Fallout Novel) Chapter 6: Lost in the Outfield
Chapter 5: The Last Will & Testament of Dr. Isaac Astor
I was up at first light the next morning, and wasted no time in gathering my things together for the journey ahead. I had already explained to Ilya how there was no better time to travel, the ghouls were just lying down for the day, while the raiders were still drunk from the night before. Of course, that didn’t stop her from being as stubborn as a two-headed mule when it came time to get up. You would think that two centuries suspended in cryo-stasis would have been enough sleep to last her a lifetime, but instead, all I got was a groan of “five more minutes” as she rolled over and fell right back to sleep. Hate to break it to you sweetheart, but this ain’t no concierge service.
I flipped over the sofa and sent the girl crashing to the floor with a yelp of surprise. Ten minutes of screaming la
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Ch 5: The Last Will + Testament of Dr. Isaac Astor
Chapter 4: A Girl Out of Time
I couldn’t look away. My eyes were glued to the screen like a brain-dead lobotomite. I stared at the television, completely entranced, as the man walked out of the frame and the message set to play again. I’d heard of moving pictures before, but the closest I’d ever come was an old slide projector full of military specs and training materials. I looked over at Ilya, almost expecting her to be just as amazed as I was, but instead, she was smiling like a kid on Saturday morning, just waiting for her favorite program to begin. It was in that moment that it struck me how far away from home she really was.
“…Ilya,” the man spoke again and the smile stretched even wider over her face. 
“It’s him, it’s my father! I knew it, I knew he wouldn’t leave me all alone!” She cranked up the volume just as the message began again
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(Fallout Novel) Chapter 4: A Girl Out of Time
Chapter 3: Angel in Blue
The sun was creeping below the horizon by the time I carried the girl down the hill and into a bomb-blasted apartment. I found a secluded room, where I laid her gently down on the sofa and took up watch next to the window. I stared out over the square below, my bloodshot eyes begging for rest, but there was no chance. I'd be up all night for sure, the last thing I needed was for her to wake up and run off into God-knows-what. This was definitely no place for a young woman to be caught after dark.
I watched as the ferals crawled out from their holes and into the cool night air. They shambled aimlessly through the streets below, lost souls of a bygone era, forever doomed to wander. I knew the feeling. It seemed like that was all I was doing these days, and now there was no end in sight.
It was supposed to be easy, in and out with all the guns and goods I'd ever need to live out the rest of
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Journal History

Writing a novel or a story is a lot like setting out on an adventure all your own. When you first start out, you’re like the fresh-faced young hero eagerly racing out of his little village of fine comforts and throwing himself headfirst into the glory of the day! 

But, just as it does for our characters, this doesn’t last long. You soon find yourself tired and hungry, and that the trail was much further and steeper than you thought it would be, but you’re committed, and so trudge on you must.

It is only when you open your bleary sleep-deprived eyes and look around somewhere near the midpoint that you realize…

I have no idea where I’m going.

You, my friend, have encountered the Deadly Swamp of Misdirection.

This swamp, the great bane in many writer’s life, is a story killer. (Trust me, I know firsthand.) The graveyard of Unfinished Manuscripts that died here are too many too count, and just like the bog-men of yore, these poor lost souls will haunt you forever if you keep abandoning them in this mire.

So, what can you do?

Grab a Map and Get back on Track

You don’t have to be a cartographer in order to navigate your way out of this swamp. All you need is a basic guide and your own internal story compass. So whether you are currently stuck in this swamp, or have just become too familiar with its waters to dare tread there again, this multi-part series is for you. 

Here, I’ll be taking you through what I have come to view as the fundamental building blocks of (most) stories. First, we’ll be going Back to Basics with the 3-Act Structure & Freytag’s Pyramid, then we’ll be expanding that into two journeys and six stages using Hauge’s system. Next we’ll delve into the Hero’s Journey by Vogler, and finally the Emotional Roller Coaster and Story Diamond by Stan Williams. 

Each of these concepts will build on top of each other until you have a more full and complete understanding of Plot Structure, an understanding to use or turn on its head as you see fit. Because as Pablo Picasso once said, “Learn the rules like a Pro, so you can break them like an Artist.”

What is Plot?

It may seem like a silly question, but what is Plot, anyway? 

Plot can be described as the logical cause & effect relationship between linked events, whereas story is the chronological sequence of events. In E.M. Forster’s Aspects of a Novel, he explained the difference as thus: “The king died and the queen died also” is a story, but “The king died and the queen died of grief” is a plot. Story is only what happened, Plot is also why it happened. Visualize story as beads on a string, one event happening after another, and plot as a chain that connects events to why they happened.

Inline image 2

The One-Sentence Summary is a good place to start seeing the scope of your plot, which can be summed up as a flawed character in a particular setting, facing a problem or challenge, that forces him to take action. Note how there is a cause (the problem) and an effect (the action).

Traditional 3-Act Structure

Most of you will have undoubtedly heard of the 3-Act Structure, and for good reason. This structure has its roots in the ancient Greeks as far back as Aristotle in 350 BC. In his book Poetics he wrote that the unified plot structure required a setup (beginning), a confrontation (middle), and a resolution (end). 

In the beginning, you set up the character’s intent, which is whatever they want but can’t get. According to Aristotle, this is one of two things: happiness or misery. 

In the middle, we have the rising action, which is the result of what happened in the beginning. Remember, plot is all about cause and effect, how the characters act and react to events, and how they change as a result.

In the end, the actions of the middle inevitably lead to the climax and the resolution of the conflict.

Inline image 1

Freytag’s Pyramid

Then along came a German writer in the Nineteenth century by the name of Gustav Freytag who mapped the structure he noticed repeated again and again in literary works and expanded on Aristotle’s Triangle, the result? The Freytag Pyramid:

*Freytag originally developed only five levels to his pyramid, but over time two more have been added. 

1.  Introduction, Setup, or “Exposition”:

 *Personally I avoid saying “exposition” so as not to confuse it with the literary technique.

Here we meet the cast and get to know the “regular” world as our protagonist knows it. The exposition/introduction stage presents all the basics of your Plot to the reader, introducing them to the Genre, Setting, Characters, and the basis for his Internal Conflict throughout your story. This is also where you will be establishing the Voice, Mood, Tone, and Atmosphere, as well as the Pacing & Flow within your chosen writing Style. This enables the reader to understand more about the circumstances and the relationships the characters have with one another.

2.  Inciting Incident: 

 Just then, an exciting event happens! We may or may not be aware of the Main Goal or Conflict yet, but some serious Conflict is made clear. Earlier conflicts were still a part of the characters normal world and will likely reflect his internal journey or have been hinting towards this greater event, but it is this incident that peaks the reader’s interest and sets off the chain of events that impels your character forward into unfamiliar territory. 

Some possibilities include:

    • Action (A murder, sudden explosion, robbery), 
    • Dialogue (Mysterious phone call, old flame comes back), or 
    • Situation (suddenly thrust into a situation they can’t handle)

3.  Rising Action:  (Goals, Conflict, Obstacles, and Complications)

Conflict is brewing and tension rises. The Goals and Stakes have been set, the Main Conflict defined. If there is a villain, we’ve met. All of our major players have been introduced and we’re a little more familiar with our surroundings. 

Time to turn it up a notch.

Nothing’s ever easy (certainly not writing a book), and this is the point in the story where the problems intensify and complications arise. Obstacles, barriers, new conflicts and situations come up at the worst of times or right on the cusp of victory and knock them back down.

Victoria Schmidt, the author of Story Structure Architect, defines three of these terms as “Action Points” and categorizes them thusly:

  • Barrier: The character attempts a certain action and fails, must change directions or try a new approach in order to overcome. Barrier STOPS the action while character considers what to do
  • Complications: Doesn’t pay off right away, creates anticipation in the reader for suspense.
    • Ex. Hero is trying to catch a killer when his old flame walks in. Something in the scene tells us something will happen between them, but not yet, and it may just complicate things
  • Situations: Schmidt uses an expanded version of Georges Polti’s 36 Dramatic Situations, however, this can be described as any event outside the main goal/objective already stated.

4.  Climax or Finalé:

You’ve climbed the mountain, defeated the guardian at the gate, met the princess, and now, all that’s left is to slay that dragon. The Climax is where you finally have the face-to-face showdown between your hero and villain. This is the quick-paced moment of greatest tension, where the problem is at last resolved and the goal at last accomplished (or in the case of tragedy, the hero fails and leaves the readers reflecting on the character and morals)

5.  Resolution: (Falling Action & Conclusion)

Ah victory at last, but the story’s not over yet! The Resolution contains two parts, the Falling Action and the Final Conclusion, wherein all loose ends are tied up, all sub-plots complete and the Main Character reflects on how he has changed emotionally and mentally. The Theme is reiterated and reinforced and both the character and the readers have learned something in the process.

If a sequel is planned, then it is set up here, but whatever you do, do NOT end on a cliffhanger! Make sure the primary problem has been dealt with in this installment, even if the villain got away or if there’s is a larger group of villains to contend with. Any loose ends left open for the sequel need to be acknowledged so the readers know you haven’t forgotten them, and consider ending on an intriguing incident or question that will leave the readers interested in the next book. 

Tune in next time for Michael Hauge's Two Journeys and Six Stages!


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Dani May
Artist | Hobbyist | Digital Art
United States


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LadyTroodon Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Happy birthday 
thelittleone Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! It was a pretty good one I'd say. ;)
LadyTroodon Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for the watch :)
thelittleone Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yep, I too love writing and I'm happy to see someone else putting out articles. I want to see a more active community in the writing forums, so it's something I've started doing as well. Cheers! :D
LadyTroodon Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Cheers! :D (Big Grin) 
sambeawesome Featured By Owner May 30, 2017
Thank you so much for the watch! I Love You Emote I really appreciate it and I'm glad you like my artwork Huggle! 
If you'd like, feel free to check out my YouTubeTwitchTwitter, or Facebook.big pink heart 
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thelittleone Featured By Owner May 11, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Doing pretty good! Just working on blog stuff as I'm trying to get one started. Yourself?
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