Friday, August 13, 2010

Writing hints - Plot line vs story line

While re-reading Structuring Your Novel bu Meredith and Fitzgerald, plot line and story line were discussed. I found this interesting.

A novel with a plot line focuses on the events and the main character emerges with little change. When there is a story line the emphasis is on character and the main character is different at the end than in the beginning. The character either grows or disintegrates.

So what does this mean? In a novel with plot, the moment of recognition comes near the end. This is when the reader realizes if the character is going to succeed or fail to reach the goal. In a mystery, the protagonist will or will not catch the bad guy. The suspense is maintained until almost the end of the story. The main character remains pretty much the same as they were when they entered the story.

When a story line is used, the point of recognition is when the reader realizes the character will either succeed or fail. This can occur at any time in the book once the major complication is made clear. The main character may or may not recognize this and will continue the struggle toward the goal. Often the author lets the character decide


Shoshanna Evers said...

If you ever wanted to write a book about how to write a book, I would buy it :) And congrats on your upcoming book btw! Sorry I had to miss the HVRWA meeting today (I had to work) - I'm looking forward to getting the newsletter so I can see what went on :)

Janet Lane Walters said...

Shana, You can buy Becoming Your Own Critique Partner written by Jane Toombs and myself. Comes in download or paper. I know it's at Amazon and probably Barnes and Noble or at Zumaya Publishing.

Wendy S Marcus said...

Great post, Janet. Helpful as usual.