I'm about three chapters into a new novel and the other day when I was making some notes on themes and events to come, the thought occurred to me that I'm writing a Remake Your Life plot.
I made that name up, but these kinds of plots are staples of women's fiction. For various reasons, the protagonist's life falls apart, usually in unexpected ways, and then she has to go about finding a new one.
As I made notes and pondered, a rough basic outline of this kind of story came to me and I jotted it down. Here it is:
1. Everything falls apart, and/or the protagonist loses everything she's held dear.
2. She has no choice but to start over again, often in a new place.
3. There, she's a stranger in a strange land. She has to navigate in these strange new surroundings and it is often puzzling.
4. But slowly, she settles in. And bit by bit things begin to go well.
5. However, there is still more to be learned. Any lingering issues left over from the problems at the start will now rear their heads to be solved.
6. The heroine's actions come back around to haunt her, good and bad.
7. The choices the heroine has made in the second half of the book are now what truly count because these are the choices she has made as her new, wiser self.
8. The heroine uses these new found traits and skills to manage the final crisis.
9. Often, but not always, she returns home triumphant.
This is also a variant, of course, on the heroine's journey.
What do you think? What did I miss? What did I get right? Have you ever written a lot like this? Guys, why aren't there more novels with plots like this for men?
I'd love to hear your opinion.
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**Photo of board game by Will Folsom.