Saturday, June 18, 2011


By Mary Andrews:

Last year at the Muse Online Convention, I attended a class which taught the meet-in-the-middle technique of Plotting by Claudia Suzanne and learned an amazing way to outline a story in fifteen minutes. According to the instructor, this is a method that has been used by screen play writers for a very long time.

Here’s how it’s done: take a piece of paper and write the numbers 1-15 in a column on the left side.

Now, next to # 1, write the beginning of your story (Boy meets girl).
Go to # 15 and write the end of your tale. (And they live happily ever after)

Then go back to # 2 and tell what happens after #1

Go to#14 and work backwards from the ending.

Repeat, repeat, repeat going from beginning to ending until the two storylines meet in the middle.

Viola—an outline.

1 Boy meets girl & life is good
2 Girl’s father does not approve of boy and forbids
3 Girl arranges to meet boy—in a cemetery
13 Working together the boy and girl save the village
14 Father welcomes boy to family
15 And they live happily ever after

I tried it and was surprised to find that it worked in less than 15 minutes just like she said. Needless to say, the list can have more numbers if you like. I even considered using several of them to chart out individual subplots but never got around to it. Still, give it a try.

Also when you need that story outline you’ve been putting off for the submission process to an agent or publisher, consider trying this—could work, as it forces the writer to stick to the basics and cut to the quick.

Excerpted from Before Copy Editing by Claudia Suzanne (WCPublishing, 2010) --with permission.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mary, I'm sorry I missed this posting on your day - I love Meet in the Middle Plotting. I took Claudia Suzanne's workshop at Muse On-Line Writer's Conference and have been using it ever since.
I'm looking forward to the rest of your posts.