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Professional Plot Outline

Mini-Course
Worksheets

Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

AUTHORS GRANT OF LIMITED REPRODUCTION


RIGHTS
I, Holly Lisle, the author of this book, grant you, the owner of a legally distributed copy
of Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop the following limited rights of
reproduction.
You may print (via personal printer) or photocopy as many worksheets from
this book as you need for your own personal use, including multiple copies of
each worksheet. You may also reproduce copies or for use by members of your
immediate family living in your household (spouse or significant other, parent,
child) or for members of your (physical, but not virtual) writers group.
You may not make copies of any other portion of the book in any format (excluding
the limited e-book rights granted below); nor may you make copies of any portion of
the book, including worksheets, for roommates, friends, distant relatives, students, or
anyone else, without my express written permission; nor may you include these
worksheets in any derivative work. Doing so is a violation of copyright law.
If you have the PDF version of this book, I grant you the right to print out a single
paper copy of the entire book for your personal use.
If youre a public or private school teacher and you want to use materials from this
workbook with your students, contact me at http://novelwritingschool.com/support and
well work out a copying arrangement based on the number of students for whom you
wish to copy worksheets.
TAKE THIS PAGE, on which you find the printing permission notice, along with any
materials you wish to copy, so the copying center or your local library will know you
have my permission to make copies. Youll save yourself grief by proving that you have
the right to copy the worksheets before, rather than after, youve made the copies.

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://NovelWritingSchool.com/free-plot .


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

EXERCISE ONE: Figure Out Your Character


Write your own single paragraph in describing what you know about your main
character. Keep it short and focus on the most important thingswhat he values, what
he does, what he needs, what he wants, what he fears.
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

EXERCISE TWO: Decide on Your Central Idea


Select and list below the points you want to pursue, the ideas that you find fascinating
and compelling. Three or four items will be enough.
1. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________

2. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________

3. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________

4. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

EXERCISE THREE: Write Your Opener


Using any ideas you have about your character, put together in the space provided a
single paragraph that focuses on the critical parts of your characterwhat he does,
what he needs, and what he fearsthat answers the following questions:
What is the most difficult thing my character is struggling with right now?
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________

How does that struggle give him one problem he must solve?
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


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Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

Who or what will stand in the way of the solution he seeks?


______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

EXERCISE FOUR: Create Your Ending


Go back to your opener and figure out in general terms how you want the story to end.
1. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________

2. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________

3. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________

4. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
When you have your list, answer the following questions:
Does your protagonist succeed or fail in gaining the objective you gave him in your
opener?
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

Does your story come to an emotionally satisfying conclusion?


_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________

Describe yourself in the future after you have written through anywhere from ten
pages to seven hundred to get to this ending?
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________

Is this where you want to be a week, a month, or a year from now? Why or why not?
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

EXERCISE FIVE: Rough-In Your Middle


Your turn. With your beginning and your ending in front of you, sketch in between three
and sixty one-line scene ideas. (You'll find twenty tools for making this process much,
much easier in Holly Lisles Create A Plot Clinic, generally available where you
downloaded Professional Plot Outline.)
I suggest coming up with more than you think you're going to need, because from my
own experience over the years, about 20% of your ideas will turn out to be unusably
bad.
The worksheet is on the next page, and contains printable plot cards. Depending on the
size of your project, you can need a couple hundred.
I use index cards, but enough of my students have informed me they dont have index
cards in their part of the world that Ive included these do-it-yourself versions. Use
heavy paper or card stock to print them on if you can find it.

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

INSERT SCENE CARDS HERE

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

EXERCISE 6 (Lesson 2): Mix n Match Plot


You can deliberately choose one, two, or all three conflicts, and fill in the remainder
with random choices. In my experience, if you use at least ONE random conflict,
you'll force yourself to think outside of your usual story box, and generally come up
with a deeper and more complex story.
Write down:
Conflict #1 ____________________________________________________________
Conflict #2 ____________________________________________________________
Conflict #3 ____________________________________________________________
What story structure will you be using? (The default is Cliffhanger. If you own
Create A Plot Clinic, you can select one of the other options you'll find there.)
______________________________________________________________________
Write down your four questions about the three conflicts you've chosen:
1. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________

2. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

3. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________

4. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

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Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

EXERCISE 7 (LESSON 3): Questions & Answers


Start with one of the seven critical components of character. The default is Work &
Play. If you have Create A Character Clinic, you can select a different option.
What element of your protagonist's character is MOST important to him?
______________________________________________________________________
Fill in the following based on p.3 of your lesson, and on your three story
conflicts.
What is the character's __________________________ (work, play, or other)?
Now, answer the four questions you wrote down last week. (You can rewrite
each here first before answering if you'd like.)
1. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

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Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

2. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________

3. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.
All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

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Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

4. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
Now, answer the following question---What price does your character pay, or what
consequences does he face, for everything you've discovered about him above? (This
will be the climactic scene of your story, the big final conflict right before you reveal
your resolution.)
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

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Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

EXERCISE 8 (LESSON 4): Candy Bar Scenes


Resource: Internet Public Library: http://www.ipl.org/div/farq/plotFARQ.html
Your five conflicts from any of the "7-plot" and up lists. (The 1- and 3-"plot" entries are
useless.)
1. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
4. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
5. ____________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
Now, pick any one of the five conflicts above, and remembering that in a scene,
something important changes, write out one short paragraph in which you
brainstorm how you can use this conflict in a great scene in your story.
Conflict #1 Scene
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.
All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

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Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

Brainstorm four more scenes you can't wait to write for your story, using a different
conflict for each one. Remember that you do not have to develop these scenes in
sequential story order.
Conflict #2 Scene
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________

Conflict #3 Scene
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________

Conflict #4 Scene
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.
All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

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Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________

Conflict #5 Scene
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________

If you'd like, you can print off multiple copies of the following page to create AT LEAST
15 candy-bar scenes for your story.

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

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Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

Conflict: _______________________________________________________________
Scene Brainstorming:
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________

Conflict: _______________________________________________________________
Scene Brainstorming:
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

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Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

EXERCISE 9 (Lesson 5): Ordering Scenes for Conflict


This quick exercise will allow you to compare segments of your plot outline in two
different orders. Print out more pages of the worksheet if you want to run your whole
project through a scene-by-scene comparison.
Heres what you do:
Number your scene cards in their original order with pencil.
In the ORIGINAL column, write in the numbers, then answer the question, How does
my conflict in this scene affect the next scene?
Re-order your cards, then repeat the process in the TESTING column.
Compare your results. Choose the order that gives you the strongest conflict from scene
to scene.

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

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Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

ORIGINAL

TESTING

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


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Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

EXERCISE 10 (Lesson 6): Select two candy bar scenes that have a gap in the action
between them.
Write down:
Primary Character in Scene A _______________________________________
Primary Character in Scene B _______________________________________
If the primary character different in your chosen scenes, you'll do this exercise twice.
From memory write down a brief description of scene A. (This helps you focus on what
really matters in the scene and pare down nonessentials.)
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
From memory write down a brief description of scene B.
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
Now, directly ask your character four questions about specific details, actions, and
meanings in the scenes above. Write down all four questions before filling in
any of the answers.

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

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Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

Question 1:
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
Answer 1:
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

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Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

Question 2:
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
Answer 2:
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

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Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

Question 3:
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
Answer 3:
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

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Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

Question 4:
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
Answer 4:
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

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Holly Lisles Professional Plot Outline Mini-Workshop

When you've written down all four of your questions, asked directly to your character,
go back and let your character answer each of them in his or her own voice.
Remain in first person for each character response.
If you're working between two characters, fill out the sheets above for your SECOND
character as well. You can use the same questions, if appropriate, or different ones.
On index cards, write down each new scene you get. (You can use the index card
printouts from EXERCISE 5 if you cant purchase index cards).

Plot Mini-Course Worksheet Holly Lisle, http://howtothinksideways/writing-courses.


All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this worksheet for your own personal use.!

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