Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Wednesday - Patterns in Plot construction
When I think of plot I alwasy see the masks one showing Comedy and the other Tragedy. To me there are two basic ways for a plot to emerge. Perhaps this may seem simplistic and maybe it is. Stories either end happily or they end tragically. I kind of prefer the happy ending though Anna Karenina was one of my early models for writing fiction. Just looking at the two, there are many variations on these themse.
In real life coincidences abound. In fiction, they don't. The writer has to plan for every incident that could be considered a coincidence. For a character to overhear an important bit of information, the writer has to find a way to make this seem to be a natural event. Putting the character in the right or wrong place to overhear or witness an action needs the reader to believe this is a natural happening. This must be part of the character's nature.
For either type of story, those with a happy ending or those with a tragic ending there are roads one must take. Every character cones into a story wanting something. This is the what of a story. They must have a reason for wanting this object, event that makes sense. This must be part of the nature the writer has given them. Just wanting the object and the reason can't be enough to make a story. What the story needs are 3 or four segments.
There is the why they can't have this object. This can be presented by other people, by nature or by the social area where they exist. This is the threat segment of the story.
Another segment is the trial period where the character either goes toward or away from the object. Sort of like trying to find a way around the sibject to reach the goal. The character can either succeed or fail or a combination of the two types of action.
The last two segments can be either separate or together and they are success and resolution. The character will either win or lose the object or what they desired in the opening of the story.
So remember when you plan a story which type you are striving to achieve. Will the main character win or lose what they seek. Putting together the segments to reach the end takes planning.