The next step I want to take with Sex Magick before I start slinging words around again is constructing a short synopsis according to the methods outlined by Jeff Lyons in his book Anatomy of a Premise Line (which I have been using to resurrect the Sex Magick project when it stalled). Lyons suggests that “the synopsis should be an expanded version of your premise line, including each clause of the Anatomy of a Premise Line Template™ with each clause broken out into more detailed beats.” I can do that. And so I will.
To refresh my own memory, here is the entire premise line for Sex Magick:
The request of Tobias, a handsome, young man with an air of innocence about him, for a love spell prompts the aloof and opportunistic Raphael to flirt with him, which results in Raphael’s seducing Tobias to have a short-term fling which is opposed by Asmo, the demon who wants Raphael’s energies for himself leading to Raphael’s realization that he has endangered Tobias and his subsequent decision to sacrifice himself to save the young man.
Now to break it down.
First up is the “Protagonist” Clause: The request of Tobias, a handsome, young man with an air of innocence about him, for a love spell prompts the aloof and opportunistic Raphael to flirt with him,
The Constricting Event. Tobias comes into Raphael’s shop looking for a ritual to bring love into his life. The Moral Blind Spot. Raphael believes that his true self is unlovable but that he can find satisfaction of a sort by pretending to be what others want him to be. The Immoral Effect. Raphael flirts with guys and seduces them, only to abandon them when he or the other person start to develop true intimacy.
- Scene. Constricting Event. Tobias comes into Raphael’s shop looking for a ritual to bring love into his life.
- Scene. Moral blind spot revealed. Asmo kids/cautions Raphael about getting involved with Tobias.
- Scene. Immoral effect in action. Raphael tells Tobias that they probably shouldn’t see each other anymore.
Next up is the “Team Goal” Clause: …which results in Raphael’s seducing Tobias to have a short-term fling…
Raphael’s overall desire is to feel loved or at least admired. Link desire: Raphael desires to be adored by Tobias. Link desire: Raphael desires to date Tobias. Focal Relationship. The focal relationship is with Tobias, the one whom Raphael will spend the most time with.
- Scene. Overall Goal revealed. This is the scene where Raphael admits to Asmo that he has fallen in love and wants to pursue a relationship with Tobias.
- Scene. Focal relationship established. Raphael and Tobias go out on a date.
Third up is the “Opposition” Clause: …which is opposed by Asmo, the demon who wants Raphael’s energies for himself…
The main opponent/antagonist is Asmo, the demon/familiar. At stake at the midpoint for everyone is how Raphael will reign in Asmo before he kills again. At stake for Raphael at midpoint is whether he can save Tobias. The doom moment (3/4 of the way through) comes when Asmo forces Raphael to decide between Tobias and death or Asmo and life.
- Scene. Asmo is introduced in the second scene, but he is revealed as the antagonist when he threatens Raphael.
- Scene. At the midpoint, Raphael realizes that Asmo has killed Alastair.
- Scene. Raphael realizes that Asmo has captured Tobias.
- Scene. The doom moment is when Raphael comes to save Tobias and is given the choice between his life and Tobias’ life.
Finally comes the “Dénouement” Clause: …leading to Raphael’s realization that he has endangered Tobias and his decision to sacrifice himself to save the young man.
Raphael changes by becoming self-sacrificing to save someone that he truly cares about. Even though he now realizes he has been wrong about himself and that he is lovable, he is prepared to give up that love to save another. The final resolution comes when Raphael demands that Asmo take him.
- Scene. Raphael changes by letting go of his false belief that he is selfish. He actually can afford to be generous.
- Scene. The final resolution shows Raphael giving himself to Tobias.
- Scene. Raphael’s change shows itself at the end by his pledging himself to Tobias.
And there ends the exercise.
Wow! It took me a day to work through all of this. Was it helpful? Yes and no. I’m going to sleep on the experience, actually try to do some writing and report back when my head is more clear.
What are your thoughts? Is a plot direction becoming clear? Let me know in the comments or drop me a line at email@example.com. I appreciate your interest and your ideas.