Sex Magick: 5 Key Turning Points from Michael Hague

After doing the work of establishing a premise line based on Jeff Lyons’ work, I realized the next step was to put together a story outline. The framework I most resonate with is the five key turning points structure constructed by Michael Hague of Here is my take on the five-turning points-/six-stage structure as applied to Sex Magick. Continue reading


Taming the Beast: Story Outlining and Five Commandments from Shawn Coyne of the Story Grid

Feeling overwhelmed by how to tackle a project as big as even a novella, I was encouraged when I listened to a three part series on story outlining by Shawn Coyne of Story Grid. [I heartily recommend signing up for his invaluable email list.] In three short lessons, totaling no more than thirty minutes, he managed to make 50,000 words seem like a doable task—even in a month of 30 days. He does this by breaking things down into three levels of chunks: larger chunks (acts), smaller chunks (scenes) and even smaller chunks (beats). Continue reading

Sex Magick: Raphael’s Demons… and Mine

In trying to put together the story of Sex Magick, I keep coming back to the question of understanding Raphael’s Moral Component (inspired by Jeff Lyons’ Anatomy of a Premise Line). Lately I’ve been coming to understand that Raphael’s blind spot is my blind spot and that his demon is a projection of mine. This shouldn’t come as a shock to any writer who digs deeply into himself in order to understand his characters, but I’m not sure why it took me so long to realize this. Continue reading

Sex Magick backstory: Raphael, Asmo and Nigel

I wanted to work on Sex Magick tonight. I’ve been away from the story—at least the writing of it for over a week. I’ve been plotting more than pantsing during this hiatus, and thought I’d explore some of Raphael’s backstory, particularly his history with his former mentor, Nigel (now strangely missing), and Asmo, who Raphael suspects had something to do with Nigel’s going missing. Continue reading

Sex Magick: constructing a short synopsis à la Jeff Lyons

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.  Continue reading

Sex Magick: from Beelzebub to Asmodeus

I originally named the familiar/demon in Sex Magick “Belz”, which I intended to be short for “Beelzebub”, or the Devil. Upon further consideration, I’ve decided to rename him “Asmo”, which is short for “Asmodeus”, a king of demons and a demon of lust. The account of Asmodeus and Raphael in the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit has provided some needed inspiration for the dramatic middle and conclusion of Sex Magick. Continue reading

Sex Magick: from idea to premise line, Part 2 of 2

In Part 1 of this series, I identified the moral blind spot and immoral effect connected to the character of Raphael, the protagonist of Sex Magick. I also came up with some interesting backstory explaining how Raphael acquired his moral blind spot. I’m going to skip talking about the dynamic moral tension and go right to the seven components of the Invisible Structure. Continue reading