My favorite episode in season seven of writing excuses was an episode on YA Contemporary Fiction. The information on YA was nice,but what I really got out of that episode was the way she pitches. It’s awesome. I’d describe it, but it’s better just to listen.
Another cool thing that I was exposed to this season were The Pixar Rules of Storytelling. Check them out. There was also a fantastic episode on figuring out what comes next in the story. The best thing I got out of it was to ask does what your character need to happen next to accomplish their goal happen, and then put it in this format.
I was trying to come up with examples for this, but I found a better one on this post.
Inigo Montoya wants to kill the six-fingered man.
Through many trials, he enters the castle.
Does he find the six-fingered man?
Yes, but four guards get in the way.
Does he defeat the guards?
Yes, but the six-fingered man runs away.
Inigo gives chase! Does he catch up?
No, and the six-fingered man has barred the door.
Fezzik busts the door and Inigio runs through. Does he catch up?
Yes, but he gets a throwing knife in the gut.
Can he regain his feet and continue?
Yes, but the six-fingered man has a sword at the ready.
Can Inigo defend himself?
Yes, but he gets stabbed in each shoulder.
The six-fingered man bargains for his life. Does Inigo overcome the temptation?
Yes, and he achieves his goal.
What ever the goal is, “yes, but / no, and” is a reminder to you to not allow it to be easy. Make things worse, and the journey will be more exciting, and the payoff sweeter in the end.