Intro to Novel Writing: Assignment 3 The Plot


This is the 3rd assignment in the course INTRODUCTION TO NOVEL WRITING offered by The Writer’s Workshop • The class is taught by Jana Harris • The text used for this class is The Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray 
 • November 7, 2020 Assignment 3

ASSIGNMENT 3: Plotting Your Novel – The outline of your should include an opening, middle, and ending, brief mention of major characters, and the most important plot points.

This was the response by the teacher to this assignment:

Wow. There is a lot going on here. And all of it proves that adults are crazy and what kid would ever want to be one. Good for you. Very well done. Good tragi-comic story that should appeal to all ages. I find the Jehovah’s Witness cult-cocaine connection fascinating. Be sure to make it as plausible as you can. Let me know if you have questions. Give yourself a pat on the back, this is great.

— Jana Harris

She also gave me feedback for edits which I have made to some extent. Some of her concerns were with the end. That’s still a little sketchy so if the end doesn’t seem as filled out as the beginning and middle, stay tuned.

Before you plunge into this synopsis of my novel, please let me say this is fiction. I am using real places and a couple true incidences (notably the flood) as the backdrop of a wholly made up tale. Some of you were with me during the real time and place. This novel is not a recreation of events. This is meant to be a tragi-comic fairy tale. I templated the novel from the legend of the Three Sisters.

And so … without further ado

Here is the plot of my novel:

The year is 1976. Fourteen year old Audra Noon and her neighbor/best friend Danielle Reed along with her little sister Kit unwittingly “out” their parents’ affair. Raymond (Ray) Noon and Jane Reed leave their respective spouses and start a school for troubled boys in Trinity County, CA called The Trinity Creek Canyon School. One of their first students is Jared Burns, a former Jehovah Witness, whose mother died in an airplane crash. At the school, Jared and Audra begin a tumultuous teenage romance only for it to be squashed by the arrival of her best friends, now quasi-sisters. Jared’s father Phil Burns, who struggled with depression following his wife’s death, disappears inside a cult. This triggers Jane to become Jared’s foster mother. Phil’s sudden and unexpected arrival at the school leads to the school’s unraveling.

Act I — Special Ed

  • Scene i – Lackawanna, NY
    Audra and Danielle discover their respective parents’ affair when they spy smoke billowing out the window.

  • Scene ii – A Suburban School in San Jose, CA Where Ray Works and Jaren Attends School
    Ray, the school’s special ed teacher, persuades Jared, a student, to join his special ed class and tells him about The Trinity Creek Canyon School
  • Scene iii – The Canyon
    Audra arrives at her father’s new school (not yet fully operational) where she meets Jared, and another student Tib. The carpenter and music teacher (who is Ray’s cousin) Bob lives in an army tent down the way from the cabins. Audra is upset to learn Danielle, Kit and Jane won’t be there while she is. The canyon begins to flood.

  • Scene iii – Shelter from the Storm
    The kids are led out of the canyon by a Red Cross volunteer. Ray and Bob are left behind to shore up their belongings. On their way out, Jared and Audra fall for each other as they save Tib from falling into the creek.

  • Scene iv – The Bus Station
    Ray takes Audra to the bus to send her home. Overwrought by the events of the flood, she insists she won’t return again without Danielle and Kit.

Act II — The Trinity Creek Canyon School

  • Scene i – Weaverville Western Store
    The Trinity Creek Canyon School is fully operational. The girls visit their respective parents for the summer following the flood. Jane buys Danielle a bra with a troupe of boys in tow.
  • Scene ii – The Tent
    Bob gets Audra and Jared stoned while he teaches them guitar. Danielle protests to her mother.

  • Scene iii – The Big House
    Jane insists Bob leave the school. Audra and Jared are estranged.

  • Scene iv – The Red Cabin
    When Jared is unable to contact his father Phil and his father stops paying tuition, Danielle suggests Jane become his foster mother. This makes Kit and Audra uneasy.

  • Scene v – Town
    Just as Jane becomes Jared’s foster mother, Jared’s father unexpectedly Phil arrives at the school with money and cocaine.
  • Scene vi – The 4th of July (Climax)
    Jared and Audra reunite. Danielle and Kit discover their mother with Phil in a compromising situation. With this, the girls realize they are witnessing the end of Ray and Jane’s relationship.

Act III — The End of The Trinity Creek Canyon School

  • Scene i – The Creekbed
    Beleaguered by recent events, Ray leaves the school with his cousin Bob who was living deeper inside the canyon.
  • Scene ii – The Trinity Creek Canyon School Finale
    Jane closes the school. She takes Jared, Danielle and Kit to begin a new life in Redding, CA where she takes a job as a middle school teacher.
  • Scene iii – The Bus Station
    Audra returns to Redding to see if she can find her friends whom she hasn’t seen in over a year.

This class is funded by a generous endowment to my writing by my mom. She continues evermore to raise me up.

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Lesa Quale Ferguson

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