Day 73 Reporting – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Studying Turning Red

So. A breakdown. Turning Red is a story about 13-year old Mei Lee’s goal to attend her first boy band concert with her friends. The twist on this familiar tale is that the women in Mei’s family turn into giant red pandas when they hit puberty. It’s a story of mothers and daughters and friendship. Because of its complexity, I wondered if it would fit into the 7 point plot outline.

The beginning – The payoff

The beginning contains all the elements of the payoff in the validation section of the story. It’s the emotional set up. I recently watched the Netflix movie Damsel which I thoroughly enjoyed, but the beginning of that story did not set up an emotional pay off. It did not answer the “So, what?” that make a good story. The Try-Fail sequences were on-point, though.

A series of set ups and payoffs. If I want something to have an emotional punch then it needs to be in the beginning, the try-fail cycles, and the end.

The initial problem is Mei turning into a red panda when she’s upset.

Set ups

  • Mei not getting along with Tyler
  • Her and her friends being big fans of the boy band 4-Town
  • Her dad being a great cook
  • Her dad not helping out with the family temple
  • Working at the temple with her mom
  • Mei’s mom not having a good relationship with her mom
  • Mei’s mom not liking Mei’s friend Miriam
  • Mei going home to clean the temple instead of going out with her friends to karaoke
  • Being unable to control the panda within

Try-Fail Cycles

Goal – Go to the 4-Town Concert with her friends

  1. She asks her parents to go, but they say no.
  2. She decides to lie to her parents to say she’s staying over at a friend’s house, but now she and her friends need to raise the money to buy the tickets.
  3. She decides to sell pictures of the red panda and merchandise to raise the funds, but it’s not enough. And they got the date wrong. The date of the concert is the same date that the ceremony to bind her red panda spirit must take place.
  4. She decides to make an appearance at Tyler’s birthday party to raise the rest of the funds, but Tyler gets her mad and she ends up almost hurting him and her mom finds out.

Did Mei Change or grow? Or The Dark Moment

  1. When her mom blames her friend Miriam for being a poor influence on Mei, she lets her friend take the blame instead of confessing it was all her idea. She took the easy route to try to be perfect in her mom’s eyes instead of telling the truth.

Download Slope

  1. Mei’s grandmother and aunties arrive to help with the ceremony.
  2. Mei’s going to go through with the ceremony to rid herself of the panda, but her dad tells her that sometimes we’re messy and that’s fine.
  3. She decides to keep the panda and attend the concert, but her mom turns into her own giant panda to go after her and destroys the concert.
  4. To save her mom, Mei’s grandmother and aunties turn into pandas.


  • Tyler being a part of Mei’s friend group
  • Mei’s dad cooking a meal for her friends
  • Mei’s dad helping out in the family temple
  • Working at the temple with her mom
  • Her mom inviting Miriam to dinner
  • Mei going out with her friends to karaoke after working in the family temple

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

If you enjoyed this blog post, you’ll probably like my weekly newsletter. You can sign up here:


As of Day 73, – 3/13/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

135,181/ 147,752 / 740,784

About Irette Y Patterson

Irette Y Patterson is a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and romance. She has been published in FIYAH, Strange Horizons, Translunar Travelers Lounge and on the website of The Saturday Evening Post. When not writing, you can find her digging around in her garden or catching the latest musical in the theater.
This entry was posted in 2,024 Words A Day, Blog, Story Analysis and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *