I started out this series by comparing painting a picture with writing a story. Taking your readers on a journey into the world you create with words. In Part 1 we started off with the elements needed to do this. And here they are again:-
Settings in which your story is told
Plot, a sequence of events
Structure, the three acts
Theme, the message it sends to the reader
Conflict, creates the action
And added to this are:-
The five senses - smell, taste, sound, touch, sight
And showing rather than telling your story.
Today we’re going to talk about plot.
IN WRITING, WHAT IS A PLOT AND HOW MANY PLOTS ARE THERE?
Just to be difficult, let’s look at the second question first. How many plots are there? Well, needless to say, there’s been endless debate about this. Some have said there are seven plots, while others say twenty, Aristotle said there were two. Plots of the body and plots of the mind. I suppose it depends on how you look at it. A few that come to mind for me are:-
· and I’ll put in Puzzle too because mysteries are puzzles that have to be solved
So with just these you can have an infinite number of plot variations producing an infinite number of plots.
Which brings us to the first question. What is a plot? Well, basically, it’s what holds your story together. Not only does it give your story structure; if it’s a good plot, it’ll connect your readers to that story and hold their interest until the end.
The elements of a plot are:-
Introduction - Characters, Settings, Conflict
Complications - Problems arise.
Climax - The turning point when decisions have to be made.
Aftermath - Where everything is tied up.
Outcome - Answers to all the questions.
You might have read this before but I will add it as a short example of a plot. It’s by E.M. Forster. “The king died and queen died is the story.” “The kind died and the queen died of grief is the plot.”
So, whether you write by the seat of your pants, by which I mean you let your words take you, or you’re an outliner who plans your story in advance, by the time you’ve finished your book, it will have a plot and probably a number of sub-plots.