Friday, February 19, 2010

Plot! Plot! Fizz! Fizz!

Gen. 1: 1 "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
The very first plot was born

Yesterday we talked about theme and today we’re going to talk about plot. What, you thought they were one and the same? Well they differ slightly.

You see, the theme is what is carried throughout your story. Let say, good vs. evil and the good triumphs. (always does doesn’t it?) This struggle between good and evil is an underlying force swerving in and out of the lanes, around the bend and sometimes flies right off the edge of the cliff!

The plot is the reason behind the story. Why does the man fall in love, why doesn’t the woman fall for him, why on earth do they rob a bank? Why does the woman suddenly fall in love? What happens to their lives while on the run before getting nabbed?

A lot of times as you’re writing, the plot changes. Maybe you had in mind the above scenario of man meets woman, but then he finds that she has a child that she’s been hiding from her estranged ex-husband. They no longer want to rob a bank, they want to both see the child safely across the border into another country. These are the kind of conflicts that are going to keep the reader turning the pages.

You see? The plot isn’t a set of rules that you play by. Sure someone can say “plan your plot THEN write the story,” but as a writer (and as a human being) I find that plans never go the way they are intended. Unintentionally, they go somewhere you hadn’t planned at all. This is where the creative writer expands his/her imagination and delves into the unknown.

Breeding familiarity is not a place for your plot. Your story needs to be UNIQUE, something that ISN’T out there on the shelf right now. A lot of writers try the backward method. And that is writing the last scene first and backtracking to the beginning. Seeing it from this angle, you’re in the midst of creating a plot.

In essence the plot is the WHY your story is taking place (character’s etc.) You character is what’s going to shape your plot. Create a good character, give him/her their own profile, (what color eyes, hair, faults, vices, benefits etc.) With each part of the character’s development, the plot will surface. Always ask WHY and the next paragraph will form itself (in your mind’s eye.) Write your heart out without even thinking of a plot.

Allow the plot to become a mirage way off down the road, the closer you get to it, the clearer the whole picture becomes.

And whatever you do folks, WRITE RIGHT!


Alyssa Ast said...

Love the connection with a mirage! I can always have a feeling of what I would like mine to be but it doesn't truly develop until I get seriously committed to what I am writing. Great post.

joni said...

Isn't that just like us writer's? We always see the picture we want but in Picasso fashion it gets distorted along the way and something takes over our keyboards. :-)

I am also a poet, and this always happens when writing poetry too!

Sometimes committing to writing is all that is needed, the rest just mysteriously happens. :-)

Thanks for visiting Alyssa!

Stormcrow said...

Plot goes the wea-sel! I think you have to plan your plots out at least a little bit, but you also have to be willing to roll with it if it heads off in a different direction.

joni said...

Most definitely Stormcrow,
We need a basic outline, and this will tell us where to begin but the rest is up to the creative mind. :-)