LESSON SEVEN: PROTAGONIST ACTION PLAN
Protagonist Forms a Plan of Action
The three little pigs leave home. They want independence. They each build a house and plan to live long, happy and secure lives on their own. The third little pig is our protagonist.
The Plan Goes Wrong
The wolf arrives. He’s our antagonist. He blows down the straw and stick houses. The two pigs are forced to move in with their brother in his brick house and they’re all stuck living together again.
Protagonist Makes New Plans
The third pig makes plans to get rid of the wolf and his guests. He forces his bothers do all the housework so they will want to leave while he plots to trick the wolf into taking a trip to the Bahamas.
Depending on the length of your story, these scenes will repeat. In the shortest story this should happen at least three times. The action, tension and stakes should escalate as the plot progresses.
Halfway through the middle, the protagonist has a new insight about herself or her quest. This will change her inner attitude and her approach to completing her task, but the goal will remain the same.
Recognize flawed perspective
Something happens, preferably something totally unexpected, to change the protagonist’s view of life. Often it’s connected to either his inner fear or external fear. He sees the bully as pathetic instead of threatening. Or the insecure female detective finds out the man she’s dating is a murderer. Or, maybe the kid who thinks he’s a jinx to all his friends, realizes that he isn’t when a flood wipes out their home. After all, he can’t control the weather. This means that their bad luck can’t be his fault.
Come to terms with fears
Once the hero understands her fears have been unrealistic she must re-evaluate herself. The female detective comes to understand that she doesn’t have to settle for just any man, and especially not the murderer who dumped her. The child frightened of the bully now sees his tormentor as a pathetic frightened loser and has sympathy for him. The kid who’s afraid to let people close to him because he might bring them bad luck, now is free to make friends again.
Renewed energy, same goal
Your protagonist is more confident. Is more determined than ever to finish the job. The third little pig no longer longs for his two brother pigs to move out, but he still wants to get the wolf. Cinderella no longer feels alone because she has her fairy godmother, but she still wants to go to the ball and meet the prince. I may still be short, but being short has its advantages and I still want to finish this book.
Go ahead and plot the MIDDLE scenes of your story.