The Artist Outline
Post Mortem Outline Review: The final story ended up being pretty similar to the outline. Some of the inclusions in the outline were simply to remind myself of good ideas I had (For example the ending of them painting a bird was to remind myself of the intro). The most helpful tool in the outline for me was to have the characters defined before I started writing. I made changes to the story based on what the characters would have realistically done (ex. Rupert’s apology letter mentions Sara’s insecurities which could hint at why she was so hurt). My overall goal with this story was to execute a satisfying ending, similar to Jerry B Jenkins example below, and I think I was able to achieve this. I wanted to release this with minimal editing and I don’t have many regrets about the story. But, if I could improve anything it would be to add more personality to the characters, especially with regards to the dialogue. Rupert starts off condescending and pretentious and transitions into a more supportive role but I feel like the transition was amateurish. I also would have liked to make some changes to Barry’s character, I feel like he could have been quite complicated and interesting with some more care. Here is the outline:
Dean Koontz “How to Write a Bestselling Novel~” Endorsed by Jerry B Jenkins:
#1 - Plunge your character into trouble as soon as possible
#2 - Everything your character does to get out of that trouble makes it worse until it becomes the worst trouble you can conjure for your character and…
#3 - The predicament appears hopeless
#4 - Everything your character learns to get out of the terrible trouble he uses to succeed in the end
Give your readers just enough to care about the character then get them into conflict
#5 Satisfying ending - In a modern day version of the prodigal son called The Ride, a character calls his father and leaves a message that if he’s welcome to return home his fathe should leave the front porch light on otherwise if he finds the porch light off he will understand and tell the cab driver to continue driving. The rest of the story is him telling the cab driver how deeply his life choices have hurt his family. The story ends with the taxi pulling into view of the childhood home. Not only is the porch light on, every light in the house is on and there are more out in the yard on long extension chords.
Readers remember being educated and entertained but they never forget being emotionally moved.
How long does the story span: One season (Fall to Winter)
Plot (External wants): 5000 words
Act 1: The Artist has lost his muse (1000 words)
Intro: The breakup, the consequences laid out
Characters: The Artist, The Muse, The Critic, The Reporter
Goal: Create the most popular art in the world. Be remembered for generations
Conflict: His muse is no longer interested in reviewing his art OR putting her critiques in her Art newspaper that is the largest in the country.
Outro: The Critic assuring the Artist that things will be alright and The Artist believing them. “No publicity is bad publicity.”
Notes: The artist believes that popularity is more important than the art. This is why he loses his muse, this is why his talent wavers, this is what he needs to discover by the end.
Act 2: The Artist has lost his talent (1250 words)
Intro: The Artist realizes how much he relied on his muse and struggles to go back to just using talent.
Characters: The Artist, The Critic, The Reporter, The Agent
Goal: Give the people what they want, release the most popular painting yet and get 100s of reviews, create a piece so good that his muse has to review it.
Conflict: The Artist has not only lost his muse, but he’s also losing his talent
Outro: He finished the Art piece and is sure that the critics and the media will love it
Act 3: The Artist has lost the critics attention (1250 words)
Intro: The newspaper is blank. He writes a letter to her paper, apologizing and claiming he needs her back
Characters: The Artist, The Agent, The Critic,
Goal: Redeem himself in the eyes of the public, regain his Muse’s trust so that he can succeed in his next project.
Conflict: He has been abandoned by everyone, He can’t trust his own talent either, if he fails he can’t sell his art anymore
Outro: He paints something that the critics will like, hoping his muse will give him guidance but his letter is returned to sender.
Notes: She always gets coffee stains on paper. The envelope is still sealed but with a coffee stain so she saw it and decided to ignore him completely.
Act 4: The Artist has regained his passion (1000 words)
Intro: He sets out to finish the most impressive art piece ever, without his muse he has to regain the trust of the critics.
Characters: The Artist, The Muse, The Critic, The Reporter, The Agent
Goal: Rekindle his love for Painting
Conflict: He doesn’t know if he will have a future as an Artist
Outro: with 1 hour to go he scraps the painting and starts from scratch. He just paints what he likes.
Act 5: The End (500 Words)
Intro: The next day he checks the papers and 15 pages are devoted to critiques. The last page is a review from the Muse “Simple, but elegant. Great Work, Rupert.” He pins the review to his art wall, taking down the hundreds of other accolades. He turns to Barry and Alex and says “Alright! Grab your brushes, we’re going to start with a bird.”
Characters: (Internal wants)
Name: Rupert Sines (The Artist)
Wants: To be the most influential artist of the century
Needs: To create Art.
Lie they tell themselves: The legacy is what matters, success is outside of his control.
Fears: Obscurity, losing his ability, being forgotten
Personality: Knowledgeable, Clever, Jaded, Pessimistic
Dialogue: Pretentious, Punchy & Dramatic when speaking to media, Transition into more eager and encouraging
Empathetic Traits: Hardworking, At the mercy of the media, Limited Agency, Expectations are high, Talented, Regretful
Name: Alexandra Nash (The Critic)
Wants: To become the world's best Art critic
Needs: To realize that Art is about enjoyment, not talent.
Lie they tell themselves: They don’t want to paint, they are fine to just observe and critique
Fears: They will never have the talent
Dialogue: Mispronounces artists names and art words because they read them in a book. Quick to learn and improve
Empathetic Traits: Nice, Hardworking, Optimistic
Name: Sara West (The Muse)
Wants: To promote talented artists to the world
Needs: To experience their emotions honestly, aided by the Artwork of Rupert
Lie they tell themselves: They can experience Art without involving emotion
Fears: That she’s unlovable, only good for her objective opinions.
Personality: Serious, Positive, Excitable (rarely)
Dialogue: Professional, Concise
Empathetic Traits: Strong, sets clear boundaries, talented, Respectful & fair. Smart
Name: Barry Woodhouse (The Reporter)
Wants: To embarrass fake artists, weed them out
Needs: To feel like they aren’t a failure
Lie they tell themselves: They are supporting the art scene and not acting out due to frustration from their own lack of success
Fears: They aren’t good enough to ever be an artist
Personality: Rough, Smart, Secretive(Protective?)
Dialogue: New Yorker. Not super educated. Simple but very observant
Empathetic Traits: Observant, Aspirational, Dismissed frequently, Outsider
Update: The magnum opus. He must have something that he has saved, always wanting to accomplish but never having the guts to do it. He needs her help with it. He would never attempt it without her, it’s half her idea as well. With no other options, he begins the attempt.
Hope you enjoyed :)