How to Plot Your Story Arcs - P5 - The Mysterious Middle | Charlie Aylett | Skillshare

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How to Plot Your Story Arcs - P5 - The Mysterious Middle

teacher avatar Charlie Aylett,

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (1h 11m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Lesson 1 The Midpoint

    • 3. Lesson 2 The Learning Zone

    • 4. Lesson 3 Putting Experience to the Test

    • 5. Lesson 4 Midpoint Ambition & Stakes

    • 6. Lesson 5 The FInal Lesson

    • 7. Class Project

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About This Class

Want to know how to write a novel or novella? Written a novel that seems like a hot mess and you don't know how to fix it? Or maybe started something you simply don't know how to finish? Bet you got stuck in the middle!

Learn how to plot through the heart of your story from your character's core traits and create a middle that doesn’t muddle. Discover story technique you might never have noticed before and get to grips with basic structure with clearly explained concepts and a straight-forward class project.

Students enrolled in my classes can also join my Facebook critique group -- details are at the end of the class.

This class is part of a series, but there's no need to take all the predecessors in order to benefit from The Mysterious Middle.

However, if you would like to catch up with the rest of the series, please visit my profile page to find all my classes.

Part 1 The Big Picture gives the basics of the story arc.

Part 2 Writing Towards Emotional Markers gets you writing your own short fiction based on encorporating the story arc as your main plot structure, while also teaching you how to use effective description in order to develop the emotional content of your story, your characters and create your storylines.

Part 3 Creating Emotional Identities goes into depth on the fundamentals of character for a strong story arc.

Part 4 Fear and Ambtion Driving Stories Forward teaches you how fear and ambition work together to launch the middle of your story and create the main story goal.

But if you've already taken all of those. what are you waiting for? Lets got explore the Mysterious Middle...


Meet Your Teacher

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Charlie Aylett


Been writing longer than I should have. Along the road of those many years, I stumbled into editorial work and currently reside at Flash Fiction Online. I read a lot of stories every month, the majority of which are declined. I’ve critiqued hundreds of novels and short stories, read a thousand more, written a ton of rejection letters and tried to give helpful advice wherever possible. I've always taken pride and pleasure in helping writers understand key fiction writing techniques and give them objective insights into their stories and how to make them stronger, but I found over the years most of the time I was repeating the same advice over and over. Having spent numerous years reading short stories and novellas as a professional reader, and discussing the merits and disappointme... See full profile

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1. Intro: the middle of a story. It's always the hardest workout, right? I expect you have a beginning and maybe even a rough idea of where your story will end. But when that beginning is done, you stop short, do a little head scratching and found room where to go next. Oh, you see before you is a desert of words and letters and unfathomable plot points that form into ever changing. June's a doubt you meander without purpose until you begin to wonder. What the hell am I doing? I can't be a writer. You go off, you do something else but house work you ignored for weeks. In those early, blissful days of the beginning, where hope and creative T sparkle every step, the idea fades. The characters become simply, names on the dream begins to die. However, some weeks later, a new idea pokes his head up above the parapet, something so exciting it couldn't possibly fail. As you start another story, another beginning a new hope. Sadly, the pattern repeats itself, and at some time you have a collection of unfinished stories, half baked ideas on a huge sense of disappointment. We've all been there, and if this sounds like you, I might be able to help. I'm Charlie. Look, there's me being a bit silly and there's me trying to look bookish. I'll be inviting for way too long to be healthy. And for a number of years I've been on the other side of the editing desk working with micro fiction all the way up to novellas. I've advised on a ton of novels in progress. Ah, now I see a lot of the same patterns with inexperienced writers and have many of the same discussions with my editor, your colleagues on why stories don't work. I get to be the stuff that doesn't make it to print, and I get to hear why it doesn't. It's my intent to help writers work through common mistakes and guide their writing towards publishable standard, with both the in line technical level on with the higher level story structuring and the development of dynamic characters, I want you to reach a level where you have a real sense of achievement and pride in your work because forget even about the publishing side, getting to the end of your first short story that's been edited and punished until its gleaming is priceless. Doing the same for work that is tens of thousands of words long is indescribable. It's so good for your inner well being. We will scold or whatever you want to call it. But it's great for your personal development. This class is the fifth in the art plotting Siri's and sets out to explain some of structural elements surrounding the middle of your story, using the protagonists emotional trajectory to create a moat road map as a guide. This is about creating character driven plots, not event driven in a way that spokes your creativity rather than smothers it all the while drawing your attention to story elements you may not have noticed before. If you're looking for a class, incorporates writing techniques at sentence level, I recommend you go back to class to in this theories, writing towards emotional markers where you will learn how emotion affects description, how to develop emotions in your characters on both sentence and seen level in a way that really captures your audience. It gets you to practice your writing with easy exercises that will lead you into producing a piece of short fiction. This class, however, is about big picture plotting, giving you a bird's eye view of your main character or characters and how to get them across that desert without them collapsing into the sand and fading to me husks. Some of the things that you will learn in this class. What is the mid point and what role does it play in the story arc, the emotional progression of the protagonists and how it affects plot in the scenes. You will right how fear and ambition more and continue to drive the plot through the middle . How the characters floor comes into effect and changes the state of play. How to keep rising conflict in your story on the fundamentals of story structure. There's more to it than just those things, but those are the main points that you will learn. So we're going to be breaking apart loads of examples infection books, TV and film to show you how these mechanics working all different types of stories. So beware off spoilers. The class project is extremely simple. You just have toe think, do quite a bit of thinking about your story, but other than that, you just have to answer some questions as you work your way through the lessons on Add those answers to your plotting diagram. However you choose to set that out to create significant, significant scenes of your novel or novella. The students enrolled in my classes. We now have a Facebook critique group details on that at the end of the class on as we're getting to the end, toward the end of the series, I'm already planning new subjects, some more about plotting on and also some classes for getting back to basics for those of you out there who were just starting out. Okay, so that's enough of the introductions. Come with May and let's traverse the mysterious middle. 2. Lesson 1 The Midpoint: the midpoint is the pivot point of your story, the place where the balance of power begins to tip in. Your protagonists favor. Until this point, they might have been hanging by a thread, scraping through life or death situations without a plan, nor in expectation of an end result. There's simply been surviving. The midpoint is the area where this reactive position begins to change is the very first sign of your protagonist taken control of their own destiny, of attacking their predicament with a new and more effective attitude. It's the first sign of their emotional growth. There are two major elements to the midpoint. The external conflict plot point, which provides the macro attention and tends to happen outside of the protectionist control on the internal conflict. Emotional reaction, which provides the micro attention on happens within the protagonists control the external conflict tends to change the situation somehow. On the internal conflict is the characters reaction to this event, fueled by their fear but instigates change in the balance of power. So here are some examples off the midpoint. Possible midpoint is not all of the examples, just just a few to give you an idea of what we're working with. So it's bigger. ISO will start with the detective or investigator, makes his first major breakthrough in the investigation. So think along the lines of Erin Brockovich chair, where she has kind of barged her way into this job. Doesn't really know what she's doing. She doesn't have the skill set to succeed on. Then she's put onto this job of going to visit the people in this town, and she has to talk to them. And she she's thinking, Hang on something seems up with this bump up about, uh and she discovers that an actual fact this town has been poison is always dodgy stuff being going on with this company and the this poisoned, water contaminated water on this is when the midpoint is where she's discovered this on and and it comes to light. The realization is that Oh, my gosh, this is a huge a case. This is gonna be massive on that is the midpoint of Erin Brockovich. Then we have the protagonist who acts like a woolly if you don't what word while you means think nincompoop. Actually, someone who acts out of selfish Nurse Ilbo and you know they're just being a bit media mid points where they show that they care about someone else or others on. Things begin to click into place from there. So if you think along the lines off a Dallas Buyers Club, Ron Hayes, Homer, Fire America's discovered he's got HIV. Ah, he's discovered thes drugs that on. But I think they're illegal. They're not sanctioned or whatever bothers at the FDA. Um, and hes found these drugs in Mexico that he can get that work. But there no legal in states. So in orderto finance of the money he needs to get these drugs, he sells them into the gay community on. Of course, to him, they were would say he's a homophobe, so he's pretty negative about them. But the midpoint is where the transgender woman that he has teamed up with in order to access the his, uh, sales market becomes ill or something. And in the hospital, and this is the point where he realizes that he actually cares. That's his friend. Now, this isn't just somebody who's a business arrangement on that is the mid point being the emotional point in particular that he begins to sort of come around to this way of thinking that on and caring about all these people rather than being afraid of them. And then we have the protective realizes he or she is the only one who can complete the quest. So we're talking photo in the Fellowship of the Ring. If you remember, he is injured by the nest. Goldie wakes up in Rivendell, the elven city on, and he is all prepped up at that point to kind of path on the responsibility off the ring to somebody else who's better equipped to take it to moral door and destroy it. But then he gets to seize the council of the leaders off A with the different countries with in Middle Earth on, he sees how cruelest they are on that. There's no way any of them are gonna be capable off carrying this burden because they're going to come to its power. And so therefore, he volunteers himself to be the one to go away, toothy end or until death or both. Of course, the protagonist knows exactly what he's up against with the villain. What the stakes are that they have once again changed and now threatened beyond what is personal to him or her, and that he or she must step up and save the world. Now we're look at the Lincoln lawyer for a prime example of this at the midpoint, the Mick Hala, the protagonist. He arrives in his office and he find somebody who's broken into his office and the villain is revealed. Now what's going to make the point? Here? There? Noel stories follow the paradigm of the tipping point, resulting controlled. In some instances, it could be inverted, and this is what the Lincoln lawyer does. As a Mick, Hala starts his journey from a position of complete control. He's a lawyer who never loses. He's always one step ahead of his of his adversaries. On this is mostly maintained even after the first turning point, and up until the mid point on between the first turning point in the mid point. There are a couple of setbacks, but it all looks or sort of so so running up to the midpoint closer to the mid point. There are a couple of setbacks in his court case, but it all looks a little like a typical courtroom drama. Formats on a bit predictable. However, in this story we have a major midpoint twist rather than you know. Many stories tend to bring the twist in nearer to the end. But in this story, a major minute midpoint twist on turns the plot on its head, putting Mick Hala into a weakened position where he has no control whatsoever. Now we're gonna come back to this plot later on in the class to explain it further after we've discussed some of the emotional structure around the mid point before you could decide on what your emotional midpoint would encompass, he first need to make sure you have an idea of your emotional arc. It's been the whole point off this Siri's what is their emotion, identity beginning. And how does it differ by the end? And of course, because I know you have taken the other classes a student her prior to this. I'm going to assume you already have this worked out. Once you have decided on this ark, you can begin to work out how to transition it through the middle. The middle of story acts as a bridge between the two differing emotional identities. So what? You need to work out is what is it they need to learn through the middle in order to become the person they are at the end? What is the main life lesson? If you've already taken Class three in Syria's, you should have this on your character diagram or Sheetal. However you've set it out, eh? So what is the main life lesson? It be braver. Stand up for what you believe in work the team led lovin put family before work give up a life of crime. Have more fun in life, Bela Selfish whatever it is will be the main emotional theme of your whole story. Now, in a girl with a Pearl Earring, which is one of the examples we've been working with, I'd say the main theme with story is to learn to let go greet, greet three tries to micromanage everything and it only works a detriment. By the end, she seems a happier person for letting go of the need to rate her social standing on except her new place on the social ladder. Once you understand what they must learn in order to meet their transition cells, by the end, you could envisage what the midpoint should entail. How will you show your reader the protagonists first emotional growth signal relevant to their life lesson? We're gonna get more into that very shortly. 3. Lesson 2 The Learning Zone: okay, It's a bit of a warning. You're going to hear a lot about loans in this class. I've attributed many elements off plotting into different zones, so just try not to zone out if you can. So there are a few things your story should be doing prior to the mid point and some things that should be doing afterwards. In the last class, we talked about fear. That is the fear, ambition, driving stories forward, how they create, plot and launch the main story problem. I e. The middle and main chunk of your story and the main obstacle few protagonist to overcome. The first turning point drags your protagonist into the danger zone, putting their welfare and the welfare of what they value at risk. The section between first turning point in the mid point is also the learning zone. Because the midpoint is the first sign of the emotional growth. This means some things need to be learned prior to the sign. To begin with, your protagonists might not realize they're learning will need to learn anything. Their new story ambition should ultimately be focused on setting things back to their rightful place on the tone of the protagonist on the story world back to some sort of safety zone. In order to reach the safety zone, the danger zone was first traversed. Thwarted As you protagonist sets out to retain the new main story ambition, they will be acting out of the need for survival at this stage of the story. Every challenge they face, they will be reactive to external events, and this would lead them into further complications. But what is simultaneously happening in this area between the first turning point in the mid point is that they are learning new ways to approach problems, add acknowledge to their weaponry and skill set and accumulating allies, even if that learning and accumulation is by way of trial error and in ignorance. Just to give you a picture of you see, there's a chart on the screen. Here was half chart the other half of the chart. We're going to look at a bit later in the class, but it just gives you a bit of ah, visual to see how it's all set out. As a perfect example of this learning zone, we're going to turn to Sansa. Stark are Klein in game of Thrones. Sansa starts a storyline. Is Wilder, a spoiled little princess who was packed off to King's landing to marry her prince. You're free parathion Lannister. Unfortunately, she soon learns that her prince is a complete toad. She's kept captive with him, and his family have all equally as bad had subjected to quite a terrible time of it. Her loyalties are also put to the test at this stage of our emotional arc. She is a young girl, naive to the ways of the world, not entirely aware of what a valuable assets years for how to use the weights for family. She is a defenseless wolf cup in a den full of lions. For the time being, she must survive by proving whole authority to the king, a man she detests. On numerous occasions leading up to the midpoint, it is declared by both herself and others that she is a terrible liar. Therefore, whenever she declares on her loyalty to the king, she has given the benefit of the doubt on her honesty. As she poses no threat for the Lannisters, they are not too bothered about her as long as she appears to toe the line on behaves. Her family status makes her important tool. So at this stage of her bark, she is merely upon. However, while she is awaiting rescue, she is quietly absorbing all that goes on around her, including how the lannisters, particularly Sir, see operates. Added to this, she's been taken under the wing of master strategist Lord Bail Ish, who is equal to Cerci Lannister, without maneuvering his adversaries. And he's teaching her all about subterfuge, trust or mistrust and political leverage at this stage is merely reacting to conflicts as they happen and doing the best she can to survive. But while that is happening, she has inadvertently acquired to mental, willingly or otherwise. This is her learning zone knowledge and skills that come about as a by product of the situation and conflicts that arise from the external events that put your character on a back footing. It isn't something she sets out to do. It isn't something she intends to use with purpose to defeat her enemy. At this stage, she doesn't have the confidence to even think she could take on her enemies with any measure of success. Now, in the last class I mentioned levels of expectancy or expectation. And this is exactly what I'm referring to from the reactive area early in the mid section, the characters level of expectation is really low. They don't have the confidence in their skills and knowledge to expect to do anything of any real significance at this stage. So it helps to show this low level expectancy in your story as part of their emotional growth. So, as I say in this area, Sansa is merely reacting to the conflicts as they arise, allowing things to happen to her because of her weakened position and acting out of fear. Her floor is that she was always happy with being a good girl, stitching, embroidery and looking pretty minding her manners never taken an interest in more substantial matters, let alone anyway, that she might need to do battle with any party or, you know, defend herself, sort of used to being looked after on because of this floor. She cannot defend herself effectively from the lannisters and therefore winds up their prisoner. Of course, we say her floor while I say her floor, but in reality it is her psychological entrenchment, or youth and naivety and innocence that displays as this superficial girl on undermines her ability to take control of her situation. So it's important that I just to reiterate here that sensor on others in fact, in the story is not just her, but there is periodically declared that she is a useless liar on this. I want to reiterate this because this is used. Her emotional growth marker on it comes into play around the mid point. What you're gonna talk about a bit more in a while on it will help you decide how you will show your reader the first sign of your protagonist. Emotional growth. So one more thing to ignore it before we move on. In this earlier early area off the mid section between the first time in point the midpoint , your character will mostly remain in a position of fear, acting out of a need to survive on their ambition. To escape or get revenge or whatever it is will not draw much traction here. There there might be some events that almost helped them but ultimately failed to do so to just have another ponder on this question. What skills, allies or knowledge and knowledge does your protagonist Cuban eight. In the first half of the story, Drop some ideas down. You might already had a draft where some of this comes through. My might need teasing out a bit more and strengthening if you haven't got draft already. And hopefully it will give you some ideas on how you might begin to build some scenes leading up Teoh the midpoint, prop them down in your class projects so we can see how you're progressing. That would also help me massively, because it will give the class and visibility. So if you're enjoying the classes so far, please do post your projects. 4. Lesson 3 Putting Experience to the Test: So here we are at the midpoint on external event happens pushes your protagonist into a new situation or set of circumstances. The midpoint will likely stretch over a number of scenes or chapters, so this event will be at the beginning of the story midpoint and then events would unfold to set up this new situation. The emotional growth comes at the end of this set up in reaction to the midpoint chain of events. The emotional midpoint will be the first time your protagonist puts their newfound knowledge or experience into play and shows their first emotional growth marker. They might not do so consciously. It might be a sudden outburst in reaction to external events. What might be a deliberate step into the mission before them? I think the story where two characters have been thrown together, not out of choice pretence of necessity. They both pursue a similar gold and intend to use each other to attain that goal. But their efforts seems get them nowhere because they undermine each other while they pursue their own agendas. The mid point would be where they have spent time together, learned a bit about each other, may even a bonded slightly despite themselves on now realize that in order to succeed, they have to work together as a team. They were still suffer setbacks as they learn how to work together. But their newfound attitude of doing what's best to attain the goal instead of doing what suits their needs, only empowers them with a higher chance of winning. The midpoint is old about empowerment. It's the first tensed if step, tool success. A vital component to remember regarding this bridging point is that this newfound talent or knowledge or experience or alliance, or whatever the mixes it boosts three protectionist confidence and their expectancy level also rises. They begin to imagine a different outcome than the I'm going to die if I don't fly expectancy that they've so far followed. Once the midpoint has passed and they have recognized the start of their own emotional growth, they gradually begin to formulate a plan or an idea of what might happen if they push forward rather than retreat. This feeds back into what we discussed in the last class about ambition. Driving stories forward, the protagonist in a stronger position than they were at the first turning point has again redefines the ambition and can now see the first glimmer of achieving it. The Revenant puts this midpoint transition quite literally in physical form. Now talk about the book here as, Ah, read that I haven't seen the film, so I don't know if it differs, but I'm assuming it doesn't on the main character. Hugh Glass spends the time between the first turning point on the midpoint, literally crawling on his belly for miles for weeks. For months, I think, on end he's in physically weakened. State is practically dead, and he must call several 100 miles to safety in order to recover himself, barely scrimping together a meal. His survives on trapping mice and small rodents, and he's physically incapable of doing anything more now, said, this works in the learning zone. You know, it's these small triumphs he makes you know you can't get much smaller than the maths, so it's a really good example to use if you want to sort of official sense of it. Now. He denies himself the luxury of dwelling upon the idea of revenge during this period, because at this stage all he can afford to do is to focus on his own survival. If he wants to live, his never of expectancy is low, and he can't see beyond the next meal the next meat of cooling. And he can't see beyond, you know, not being spotted by native tribes who might kill him once he reaches his destination also many, many weeks or months later and has managed to not only survive but be helped recovery by others. He then sets out with a group off for prospectors in a boat. Now this is the midpoint in motion. Striving forward, yet not quite in full possession of his faculties. Grass is unable to help the other people paddle because he's still recovering from his injuries. So this shows exactly the state will protagonist should be at the midpoint, literally or metaphorically, well enough to travel, but not well enough to paddle. Glass has a new but not yet fully restored strength to find the men who abandoned him and exact his revenge. This is exactly the seesaw motion of the midpoint retreat scrape by by surviving to regaining strength and actively pursuing a new preconceived outcome. Whether that preconceived outcomes achieved is another matter altogether and could only be toned climates of your story, of course, but this revenant example shows how he transitioned from his surviving. He's, you know, see the fear zone off. Am I going to make it to through tomorrow on two, getting some of his strength back and transitioning into the ambition zone, which comes after the midpoint, which is, I want to get more revenge. So I just wanna go into some or in depth examples, going back to Sansa stocks, storyline and Game of Thrones with the help of Lord Bail Ish Sensor escapes the clutches of the lannisters and they head to the eyrie. Two sensors aren't lighter. For the moment, everyone could breathe out. Santa is in a place of safety back with her family, even if it's not quite the family that she had hopeful. But it's a family of sorts, and yet here she learns that Lord Bullish is betrothed to bury the lady of the area. Our Liza is a little bit bonkers, to put it mildly on, very possessive, a bail ish. Now there's a key saying, where in a rather tense exchange between art and least, Sansa was put under immense pressure by Liza threatened physically by her and on her knees and tears sounds the begs license to believe her when she says there's nothing going on romantically between sentiment. Bail ish on that. As she has said declared many times before in the story, she couldn't lie as she is a terrible liar that I think this senior does two things. It highlights that center hasn't yet made the transition from victim to adversary and also shows that Sansa is not in place of safety, that we and she had all expected lighter schizo that she is, says she believes her, and that all will be well as longer. Stansell always tells her the truth. Behind sounds is back lice. I couldn't give a hoot about her and plots to marry her niece off to the best strategic alliance, just as a 30 Lannister had plenty on. Of course, this just happens to be licensed. Son on sends his cousin on soon enough. Sands realizes that Liza is not a caring old, and it's actually a liability to her own security after this. And although patrolled, Bayliss is open with sensor that his marriage to lie so is purely a strategic move on, not a romantic one, and he declares his love sensor. He kisses her on its witnessed life, so confront stands there in the throne room in the front of the moon door, as its fondly named, which has not been a huge big hole hanging over a very, very, very deep valley on Da Lie. So tries to kill Sansa. Lord Bail Ish interrupts the confrontation and ends up pushing Leiser through the whole killing her instead. Now, although Sansa's midpoint event happened when she was rescued from King's landing at Joffrey's wedding, taking her into a new situation, the midpoint goes on for some time before she reaches her emotional arc midpoint. There was a period of her traveling to the airy and some more minor yet key scenes within that journey, and then she arrives and meets her aunt and cousin. And this is the reassessment zone of the parts where your protagonist takes in their new surroundings and circumstances and you, the author on, as with the area after the first turning point, was built, a new situation for her to operate within. In the aftermath of slices death, the lords of the area gathered to question the pair to determine if it was murder and issued you punishment. If so, SANZAR embellishes lives and now directly at risk keeping up the stakes. The first interview bail ish Who discloses an accident? Sansa, until now has kept her identity a secret. But when questioned on how the lady of the air we came to meet her doom sense of reveals, her identity is a stark instantly leveraging her family's name and status to her advantage on, she declares, Liza mad, having fallen to her death due to her owns insane fit of jealousy and that bail ish played no deliberate nor malicious part in her death. Again, she declares in tears that she is a terrible liar. I would never dream of deceiving the council of the airy lords, however wean of its ally recon seizures, playing on her youth naivety and the honorable stark names convinced them the council believe her on bail ish becomes warden of the area and guardian of its air license. Son sense in line like this, using what was her floor of youth and naivety to her advantage. Marks have emotional midpoint. She has deliberately and wittingly used this new skill. She has learned through observation at King's landing, on her alliance with bail ish to protect them both. In fact, she's out Boat rescued him Now remember this because up until now she's awaited someone to rescue her from her fate, which has been her behaviour dictated by her psychological entrenchment of youth and naivety. And this is her first time off asserting her power and successfully rescuing someone else, but note how to emphasize the importance of this transition. Her declaring she is a terrible liar is mirrored just prior to her emotional midpoint in the same with aren't Liza to give the viewer a direct comparison between her still acting out of fear and being out of control of her fate, to switching it around and using that floor as a weapon to take control of her situation. This is doubled down with the fact that at King's landing she didn't really understand how much one asset her name and position carried in the war. Where is this scene shows that she is beginning to recognize the four gravity of her status on what it could do for her. So at this point, your protagonist has tipped the scales from victim in favor of adversary. So how can you turn your characters floor into a weapon? How can they turn the floor to their advantage? How can they weaponize that weakness? Have a good think about it and add it to your class project. 5. Lesson 4 Midpoint Ambition & Stakes: was. Your character has experienced their first time putting their newfound knowledge, your talents to the test and won their first battle. No matter how small two things happen, their confidence is given a boost that suddenly they feel hope where there was none before . Second, their level of expectancy is raised for the first time, they say, a possible path towards triumph with this level of expectancy and has mentioned previously the story. Ambition begins to morph on be redefined, albeit in a rough or abstract and maybe not fully thought out form. Sansa's main story Ambition wants her father is executed and she has kept captive by the Lannisters is to escape from King's landing on Return home to Winterfell Castle, where she will supposedly be safe with PayPal around her. Who will protect her? However, once she has achieved the first part of this ambition escaping King's landing, and she has passed her midpoint lying effectively to save her more babyish, Bakish continues to prime her with stories of how the alliance of House Stark and House Erin formed the main military force with House Baratheon and together led the rebellion to tell Agrarians reign, ultimately winning Robert Barbera Thean the throne on the start off the current Dinners Day , this is education. Phil Sands his head with ideas of reunification with House Aaron, which is now under the control off Lord Bail ish house errands that serve the area. We were talking about the last lesson, Uh, and it creates the first inclination towards mounting a serious challenge for the iron Throne and toppling the Lannisters. If Bayliss contained the Iron Throne with Sansa as lady of Winterfell and ally Sansa would be installed as warden of the North and her future secured, she'll be back home, which is her story ambition, but not in the way she had imagined with her family safe and looked after. Instead, she would be the one in charge, the one calling the shots. Her ambition has now been redefined from her being a young girl, simply wanting to go home and be safe to the beginnings of becoming a woman with ideals, of making her home her Castell on ruining it, however she may choose. She's also led to believe at this stage that a marriage offer is on the table from Lord Bail Ish, who has already declared his love for her kissed her even end up, and that together with two major houses under their power, they might rule the Seven Kingdoms together. Now remember here Sansa's original lofty ambitions right back at the beginning of her plotline was to marry a prince and be queen. So this also feeds into that ambition. But in order to realize all this effectively, Sansa would need to return to Winterfell, currently under the control of the Boltons, and somehow established herself as Lady of Winterfell. So her ambition here is still to get back to Winterfell. But now it's with new dangers and new values that stretch a far wider span than her ambitions. Ever courted before, she is seriously considering putting herself on the line and staking her claim to power where, rather than being a porn, sitting on the sidelines and going along with whatever situation arises in order to survive , she would be in the direct line of responsibility should it all go wrong. The stakes have considerably raised because of this, in that she will now need to face the Boltons, for starters who conspired with the Lannisters and the phrase to murder half her family, and the challenges will be much tougher. Much riskier than anything sends a thought to engage in prior to this point. And as it turns out, the marriage offer is not with Bayliss Shuttle, but with Ramsay Bolton. So Santa wants to be Lady of Winterfell. She's gonna have to stomach the Boltons for many years, possibly the rest of her life, depending on how the game of Thrones turns out. On. This is the personal risk she runs, which creates the midpoint stakes she could end up in a loveless marriage, living with someone she with PayPal. She despises as much as the Lannisters for the rest of her life. But now that sounds. His head is filled with ideas of power and being in control of her own destiny. On after much deliberation, some nudging from bail ish sounds of decides the dividends will be worth it. We go to investigate this more the next lesson where we'll discuss how the new ambition drive sensor into her final lesson, the last major thing she needs to learn in order to overcome her floor. In the meantime, let's just turn back to our original example of the Siri's which is gold. A Pearl earring that, whereas Thrones feels very plot centric, real strong plot are no. People tend to say that Bill the Pearl Earring tends to feel plot less, perhaps, but this is because of its tight focus and character driven nature. The reason going into all these examples is so that you can see how the same structural techniques are applied in different types of stories on because I don't know what you're writing this, I'm hoping that something resonate and you go, OK, My story is a little bit like that, perhaps on you'll be able to identify the techniques with what you're writing. So great is ended up running errands for Vermeer and launched the main story ambition and Conflict point, which is to keep it a secret from the rest of the household. In her learning zone, she fooled into a kind of apprentice mental relationship with him as he involves Herm or Um or in his world, and she learns about arts through this experience. At this stage, she's acting out of fear, doing his bidding so that she doesn't lose her job, and she could feed her family. However, around the mid point, this fear begins to transition into ambition. Her natural intelligence and curiosity of premieres work feeds into her initial emotional identity desire to be more than than what she coming the is, which is made on restore some semblance off her former social standing. She's a young girl away from home For the first time, this begins to manifest in subtle romantic notions. When Katharina gives birth to her six child greet, avoids thinking of the couple of the man and his wife with sexual desire for one another on ops, instead to think of him as a lone figure in his studio with an agreed to the company. In other words, her ambitions begin to morph from keeping her job from fear to keeping her job through desire or want greets. Midpoint comes about after she is called mixing paint in the attic. Bob Amir's mother in law of Maria Thins, who lends greets her support as long as Vermeer's wife, Catharina, doesn't find out. This is purely because groups assistance makes a premier paint quicker, bringing in more money not through any sympathies with great herself. At this stage, greet still operates within the fear zone it has no choice but to go along with their plans , even though she has accumulated too strong allies within the household. This has been by happenstance, not by our own design. So when tannic, her direct superior finds paint powder or greets apron, she is all set to report the fact to Katharina, thinking Greet has been tempering without permission, greets Position is threatened as his Maria Air Thins and Vermeer for also keeping the secret. But at this point, rather than leaving others to decide her fate, Greet takes tannic in hand on assert her authority over her, knowing she has premieres on Thins support in the matter. Now, although her emotional identity is symbolized by her apron as we discussed in the first of class in the Siri's, this assertion off herself is the midpoint tipping points that brings great more in control of her destiny and brings her to the midpoint ambition, which is essentially the same but has morphed work for from here. Still keeping it a secret. But also, I should say, assist Vermeer in his artwork, still keeping it a secret, but this time only from Katharina. As with stanza, Greet has used her floor, which is her need to control and used as a power. In this case, Greet asserts control and authority over the situation and tells Tenet to go and speak with her mistress, Maria Thins rather than Katharina, whereas before in the story in The Fear Zone, she tried to assert her authority while having none. In this instance, she asserts her authority and uses the protection of her superiors to do it effectively. So she won merrier things Overton, Ally by chance. But here is her first triumph from using her power off her own volition. Whereas we spoke about the first half, the middle section being dominated by the protagonist Fear and them acting on the need to survive the second half of the midsection is ruled more by ambition. At first, the ambition might seem abstract lofty. But as you come closer to the climax of the story, that's ambition becomes more and more focused. In this case, Greet moves from having lofty romantic ideals to actually attempting to subtly seduce Vermeer nearer to the end. Her main story ambition to keep her job and her assistance work a secret hasn't really changed return motivation for doing so have now. I mentioned this performing class that strong motivations are key to story authenticity. You might want to how the 2/2 changed in great story when it comes to switching from no choice but to obey, To chooses to stay in the sense that if Greek relies on the job to feed her family, even if she does achieve some authority and household, she's still there out of a need to survive on. This is where subplot comes in through her time of the Vermeers house, Great has gone to market and caught the eye of a butcher's son, Peter. This is within the learning zone, part of Greeks. Gathering Armory is to accumulate our allies, and Peter was the 1st 1 After time, Peter wants to marry her and on more than one occasion offered her way out. She could still support her family because she would be earning working alongside him, but she can leave the Vermeers and be in control of her own life. He even directly asked her, Isn't that what you want? She quite clearly has a choice, but she doesn't take it. She wants to stay. She wants to be close to the mere. She doesn't quite know. How should we do that in the long term? And she's fully aware that Van proven the artist patron, will ruin her if he gets the chance. But she still refuses Peters off of marriage and a way out. As with sounds, being given a choice to Mary Ramsay Bolton off around free will and choosing to do so Greet chooses to stay at the premier's. This is how we know the ambition has taken pole position over the fear. The stakes at this stage no longer about feeding her family, it is now about her losing what she holds dear, the chance to use their intellect in her artistic leanings are being treated to someone better than a maid, a somewhat abstract idea of elevating from her place in society and hurt with a chance to be close to romantic ideal. By this time in your story, your reader should be fully ensconced in your fictional world and your protagonists emotional core. By this time, real reader should feel the full weight of the importance of the changing ambition and be fully invested in winning it. The scene spanning the midpoint aware your protagonist steps over the threshold from the Fear Zone into the ambition zone. Everything they do from this point onwards is focused on winning, of obtaining the main story goal, which, to reiterate, still maintained that the reasons that doing so have changed and the risks involved are heightened. However, yes, this isn't always the case because some stories invert the structure and move zones around . Which brings us back to the Lincoln lawyer. In this structure, the role to the to half of the story have been reversed. Mick begins his journey in a position of control and confidence. After the midpoint hits, he begins to act out of fear. He's paralyzed by law by how his adversary has outmaneuvered him, and Mick can only go along with the ride. The villain has placed him on. At the midpoint, the true villain of the piece is revealed. The bad guy has shown his true colors. Mick knows exactly who the murderer is in the Darla Moore he's in. He's realized the scope of what this guy's capable off and how has placed him in a non possible predicament for the reader or viewer. David Line realized that mixed main adversary is not the state prosecutors in court but his own client, who he is legally obliged to represent without bias. On an emotional standpoint, mixed blinkers air off when he sees that he has made a terrible error of judgment regarding on imprisoned client who he didn't believe. When the guy swore his innocence, he didn't even consider he might be telling the truth, whereas Mick began the story as a cocky, arrogant lawyer, his emotional midpoint to seize him shaken, unsure of himself and who he's become. At this point, the stakes have risen exponentially. Not only is mixed career threatened and his liberty at stake if he betrays his client attorney privilege, but justice itself is on the chopping block and that an innocent man is imprisoned on with it. Mixed whole sense of himself and what he stands for the innocent man is the wider stakes on represents the saving the world aspect of the story arc and mix. Emotional turmoil represents the wider effect on society. Justice must triumph of justice and humanity are to prevail in the world. This basically means saving something that stretches beyond just what benefits the protagonist without this sense of being selfless, your character will not seem heroic enough to deserve his place at the top of the cast list . As for mixed ambitions here, he still holds the same story ambition that was launched after the first turning point. Get the NABE, Preki Playboy off the hook. But now it's has been redefined and his motivations have changed. He must do it so that he abides by the law on represents his client to the best of his ability. But also he has to find a way to prove his other imprisoned client is innocent, after all, which means somehow proving nor be prepping Playboy Guy is guilty of the crime at this stage. He doesn't know how he will do that, and no answers are available to him, So that is a slightly inverted structure. The main thing to remember is that whichever paradigm you'd start to use whenever your character is in the fear zone, they're acting out of a need for survival. Of course, as the Lincoln lawyer progresses towards the climax, Mick begins to take back control. But this comes later in the story structure than in many more traditional ways of telling a story. The whole thing has been reversed in the sense that in the more traditional way, the first half is often split between the character mostly in control of the beginning or being in some sort of khat comfort zone. Then they into the Fear zone on the second half, usually launches the assertions. Owner follows through to regaining control. But with the Link lawyer, it spends the first half of the story of him being in control, not really threatened in any really meaningful way in the second half is fit between his fear zone on regaining his comfort zone. The learning zone in this case remains in the same place as to what we've been talking about. But it comes in the form of setting up all the tools he'll need in the second half to reassert his power and triumph. So it's important to know there are different ways of doing it, but we're going to revert back to the structure we've been following and back to censor and great and how their plots pan out from here. So here's more questions for you to ponder on after this lesson. How does the ambition morph and what motivates your protagonist to pursue it? What's choices offered to them that they choose to ignore in favour or for pursuing their morphed ambition? And what are the new risks involved? Have a good think and again add it to your class project. 6. Lesson 5 The FInal Lesson: So you now understand that once the story has past the midpoint, the protagonist tackles challenges with a new determination. They were still suffer setbacks. It's not gonna be easy. But in the second half of the story, they suddenly find that much of what they experienced in the learning zone can be adopted and used to meet these challenges more effectively. Trying to get the whole thing is a tug of war between Fear Zone and ambition Zone. For the first half, Fear is tucking that rope further and further towards his side of the line. And in the second half, ambition is putting it more over towards hits side. It's more the soaring motion than that. The rope is pulled back and forth throughout the story, said Reader, is never entirely sure who will win. It's got to seem like the antagonist will triumph. Yet it also has to seem as if you'll protect misters worthy of winning. Two. If it seems too easy for your hero to triumph, you won't create enough narrative tension to keep your reader hooked all the way to the end and deliver them a satisfactory journey. This is where the final lesson and the cost of story comes in, it's after the mid point on. Your protagonist is usually in a position of power. They're not entirely secure in that power. They could still receive back into the fears own. At this point, they're now in Balcombe, pushing forward, even though they may still photo the area after the midpoint season. First challenges more effectively, and with the small triumphs, their confidence blooms. Their level of expectancies raise quite considerably, possibly to the highest point in the whole story. There might even be overconfident, thinking they can handle the antagonists now. No problem. Ingrates case. Her level of expectancy has risen enough that having seen how authority works when you have allies, she uses that tactic again to deal with Cornelia. When she once again tries to stir the pot, greet directly, approaches Premier and ask for his help in dealing with the little girl, something she would never have dreamed of doing. In the first half of the story, Premier responds in kind and also protects her from Katharina, thus thwarting Cornelius Planet to called greet trouble. At this point, greet has thwarted four of her adversaries, and yes, I do like the word thwart a lot. She's thwarted four of her adversaries at Maria Thins, tannic, Cornelia and Katharina. She has risen to power and seems to hold all the cards. However, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. That's what I tend to think, and especially when constructing a story. Remember how back in class four, fear and ambition, I said. That story arcs of about characters facing their worst fear and trying to overcome them well, this is the stage where that confrontation comes to fruition. This is it, kiddies. Time fuel, Pro tags. Worst nightmare to come to life with Sansa. It's about her marrying exactly what she's been trying to avoid. A loveless marriage with a cruel abuser. Even Sir see with her lovers marriage didn't have to suffer. What sounds in our faces with greet it is Katharina agreeing with Van? Move in that the girl should sit with him in a painting, even citing it would be just like the made in the red dress. The made in the red dress ended up pregnant by Van Reuven and her life ruined as a consequence. So this is not dude tha This is exactly the type of scandal ization greet has been trying to avoid until now. In the assertions, own greets tactics have involved using her allies to protect her against harm. But no one is going to step in and protect her from very proven. When Amir's livelihood is at stake. From this, Greet learns that she cannot exert control over this situation. That despite her brief time at the top of the power triangle, this is out of her control. If she wants to stay in the house on now that Katharina has dropped her in it, she can only hope that Vermeer will protect it from the advances of his paint of his patron on from Scandal. The final lesson is the last time your protagonist will allow their floor to get the better of them. It's the last struggle between fear and ambition, which is going to win well. The protagonist return to the fear old floored ways or have finally learned how to rule over their weakness. Sansa's initial story ambition of marrying a prince soon becomes her greatest fear. Once she comes to understand what an evil prick drop free is. Once she escapes his clutches, the same predicament presents itself again with her cousin Robin Aaron, who was spoiled and overindulged and shows early signs of becoming another Joffrey. When Santa gets to her final lesson, she is again presented with the predicament of marrying someone. She does not know who she hates and, as it turns out, is far worth in any of her previous options. Ramsay Bolton has it chooses to go toe Winterfell willingly to meet the Boltons with the express purpose of showing that a marriage contract is definitely on the table, proving to the reader her ambition is now take a poll position over here Sands and marries Ramsey, not knowing what a psycho he truly is. This is a man who was mutilated and psychologically destroyed, stands his childhood foster brother. They on cruelly dispatched his stepmother on baby brother to his hunting dogs to more because of their threat to his inheritance and is quite clearly psychologically disturbed. She has ended up in exactly the position she's been striving to avoid since her father was beheaded. So now she has to face the greatest fear and for while endure it until she can find a way out. But from all this. She has had her final major lesson delivered. She realizes Bayliss has played her. Whether he knew about Ramsey or not, he didn't care to ensure sense of safety in lieu of his own ambitions. He's manipulated her through her sense of honor and duty tow willingly enter into a terrible situation where, technically, he could always claim she chose to follow that route of over free will essentially, who used her trust and naivety against her for his own ends. Once again, she finds herself used as a pawn, and she is not happy about it. Her full was used against her by someone she trusted. This is what makes it the final lesson, even though there are a couple of extra pearls of wisdom passed on by Bale ish after this point. But this specific incident is the final lesson that will use her weakness against her. Through this experience, her emotional growth is a complete, whereas before we're married to a Lannister, she was rescued by Bayliss and taken out of the situation. In this instance, she must fight for our own survival, using her wits and whatever analyst she can muster her. You did your own wits to escape has proven to the reader by having the Lady Brianne waiting in the forest for a sign to help Sansa. Brianne sends a message to censor that she's waiting in the forest for the sign, but Santa ignores it, thinking she can handle the situation. So this is where the level of expectancy is high. She thinks she can handle the situation. So this ignoring Brianne. This is the first proof to the reader that Santa has learned all her game changing lessons and that her mindset will not be swayed from being adversary over victim. As with great and the continuous offers of marriage by Peter, which Greek resists, Sansa has been given another choice, and that choice is denied in favor of taking matters into her own hands. The difference between the two here is that greet, quite consciously, chooses to stay with veneer. But Sansa was. She understands Ramsey and how hopeless her situation is. She eventually turns to her old behavior, sending a signal and expecting Brianne to rescue her. But it is denied. A Brianne gets waylaid and misses the call for help, meaning Sansa has to resolve her own predicament that she manages to do so is proof that she will never again for back on her weakness in times of trouble. The final lesson is often also the cost of the story. I, your character state something of value in order to achieve their ambitions, and they have lost a hand in the game. What is it the protagonist has sacrificed for the story, ambition, the death of a loved one, good friend or mental trust, propriety, their honor, their innocence, their sense of themselves. The cost doesn't always come about with the final lesson. It depends on the story, but it often does and creates a dip intention that works as a contrast to the climax and comes back with what I mentioned at the beginning of this lesson about not making things seem too easy for your hero. The final lesson and cost usually looks as if the protagonist has no way to move forward, that they are defeated in Sansa's coasts, her innocence and sacrifice when she marries the Psycho Ramsay Bolton, the system bolic of her emotional arc, the youth naivety and innocence you started out with are now officially gone. She's become a fully fledged woman, no longer she a virgin. She's been abused in the same way Joffrey would have used her. She now knows there's no such things, a happy ending, that romance doesn't exist in this world, only alliances. She now knows just how ruthless the world is and that no one else could protect her, not even someone she considered a close friend and ally. She understands exactly what betrayal means and how loyalty works. Her arc has come full circle and now empowers her. No longer will she be used as a pool. Throughout the story, she's learned cunning and deception for the Masters in the final, most important lesson drummed into her here is that even seemingly strong allies could betray you, which is a running theme over the whole of the story, spanning all of the characters, in fact, so sitting around waiting to be rescued, rescued sorry only leaves you open to being manipulated and used as bullish was the first person she successfully rescued the fact she breaks through theon sphere of Ramsey and convinces him to help her escape, effectively rescuing him from his psychological bondage and thus from his captor, which is something his own blood relative was unable to do in a previous episode. This is the next proof that she has learned her final lesson on become adversary of victims . She has shown she has the will and a way she's on the precipice of becoming a potential queen. The lofty ambition she began with story with way back when Ned Stark was first called As Hand of the King. Only this time she's without a prince. The difference, though, is that she's now positioned to play the game of Thrones for riel for greet. Her final lesson is delivered when Katharina volunteers her to sit with van proven until this point, Greet has managed to build allies and authority, including winning her hand against the troublesome child, Cornelia, which simultaneously store Katharina. Katharina, Beg your pardon. At this point, she seems to hold all the power in the house. The Vermeers dependent van proven for his patronage, and he's taken a shine to greet prior to the final lesson with greets seemingly sitting at the top of the castle while everyone else was sort of tiptoe around her. She thinks she has Vermeer's favor and hopes he will protect her from Vera Rubin. When Katharina Sticks are or in that power is swiped away, Great is once again placing a precarious position where she will be at the mercy of forces stronger than her. She's learned her place, a girl in her position as a maid, bottom of the rung can never hold any authority and would always be at the mercy of her masters. Any power she might have held was merely an illusion and now lives in paces. And although she continues to attempt to exert control over her situation, the aftermath, it is without authority and in vain. In other words, and in keeping with story arc in the final lesson, Greet learns her place and with it. As the climax reaches breaking point, she learns to let go of her romantic notions of fitting in well being, a significant the significance part off Vermeer's world and it's trappings. The cost of great story ends up being her propriety. The things she wants prided the most. Back at the beginning of the story. Once she realizes she has no control, she gives herself over to Peter Dennis Syed Ali to signify a this change, and you can't get much seedier than that. The difference between these two heroines at this point is that Sansa is get from her final lesson and begins to power up, ready to do battle at the climax where a great storyline simply edges her closer and closer to inevitable disaster. So some more questions for you to think on after this. What is their final lesson? How does it bring them down? What is the cost of their story? What actions could they take to reassert themselves? So this is the options. Could they have available to them that might get them out of the situation that they're in ? You might want to list a few. Don't just sort of go all those one way or whatever list a few because you want to keep it flexible, because when you come to writing, of course, things always change throughout that process. But so write down as many ideas as you can, so we're gonna leave the final lesson for now. I think we're pretty touching it again in the next class when we covered the climax on how it relates and builds towards the final showdown 7. Class Project: So let's just go over what we've covered in this class. At the little reminder, you've learned about the role off the midpoint, the balance of power between two halves of the story. How external events lead to internal reactions to create more plots, how zones work to construct the ark and how they could be manipulated to invert structure in different stories. How to use the floor through the middle. How fair and ambition change and continue to create stakes. How to use the protagonist story cost to complete their emotional growth. And how to identify the main theme of your story through the ultimate life lesson that brings about the final emotional identity. So your class project there's not much left to do if you have bean answering the questions on writing them down. Added them to your project. Already, from all of the lessons we've gone through, you have almost completed it. You should now be out, organizes answers into some rough ideas of scenes. If you're yet to construct, first dropped or apply them to existing material ready fuel next, provisioned and rewrite. Now I like to use a mind map to organize those scenes that I could get a proper bird's eye view of my plot in use as a guide, especially after the first draft is down and I need to rethink, revise without being distracted by the actual content off words. You know what it's like if you start reading the stuff you've written, you sort of get sucked down the rabbit hole again, and you can't really see this sort of big picture stuff. So I like to use a mind map. But I know that consumed on overwhelming for some people. Um, and you know our lives. Jordan lanes on my diagram, connect things up and stuff like that. But that's the hard work. It's not for everybody. So I'm sure you've all got your own ways off jotting or setting all this information out. So maybe it might be interesting for everybody if you could upload a screenshot or photo of how you've set out your dog and what have you set up your sort of Maine seen ideas based on what we've been discussing on and in the state, let everybody see the different work processes that people use. If you're struggling with any of the concepts we've covered or with your class project. Then let me know in the class discussion forum or in your class project on. I'll see what I can do to help. So we have one last episode of this series which will cover the story climax. That's the next one we're going to do. But in the meantime, if you can't wait for that, why not join in my new critique group on Facebook that this group is only for my skill share students right now so that you chaps can share your personal expo project and receive and offer feedback? And I took that projects that are outside of my classes. You know, if you've got writing that you want feedback on, I think that'd be a good place to go. Ah, in order domain of the group as a Scotia student only group you'll need to provide if you want to join your need to provide your skill ship profile name on which of my classes you're enrolled in because specifically also because we'll be talking, I should think a lot about the techniques that we've covered in class. You want more writing advice? Check out my block on my website I don't posters. Vacanti is I should do, I know, But there's still some material worth reading on there. As future classes say, One more to go in this Siri's before I move onto some more basic subjects for those who are just starting out, such as point view, narrative mode, things like that. But if you have a particular subject you would like to see a class on, please tell me so in the class Forum and I will see what I can do. Okay, well, that's it for now, Chalfen and Peppery Nose.