Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Plot Basics

Books on fiction writing define Plot differently, but the essence is the same--a Main Character wants to achieve An Objective despite An Opposition. And I'd like to think that each of your four plots would have these three elements in place.

The next step is breaking down your Plot into sections that will cover the traditional Three Act Structure or Beginning, Middle and End. While there are arguably other ways to structure a story, the three act is the most accessible. It has worked since the day people have had stories to tell, and the rhythm of the "Three-Acter" is more readily digestible. (Very much like appetizer, main course, and dessert; breakfast, lunch, and dinner... you get the drift.)

At this point you either have your plot in outline form or in prose form. Either will do. All that's needed now is for you to divide that whole plot into three sections. But where exactly do you place the dividing lines? Where does Act One end and Act Two begin?

For the purposes of this entry, I will divide a whole story as follows:

ACT ONE - The Setup
Inciting Incident
1st Major Pivot/Twist

ACT TWO - The Journey
2nd Major Pivot/Twist
Unexpected Turn
3rd Major Pivot/Twist

ACT THREE - The Wrap
Final Battle

The above is pretty much self-explanatory. The First Act contains everything your audience would need to know to get them into the story. It ends with the Main Character realizing that he or she must reach a certain goal, or attain a specific objective.

The Second Act details how the Main Character goes about reaching that goal. There will be Complications and Unexpected Turns, and the act usually ends with the Main Character getting involved in a major crisis, or having to make a make-or-break decision.

The Third Act wraps everything up. Conflict ends, for better or worse.

(You can imagine the ends of the First and Second Acts as the sudden burst of an orchestra playing ominous, foreboding music, just before end credits.)

The "Major Pivot/Twist" will need a more lengthy explanation. That comes next.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home