April 21, 2014
Today’s Writers’ Tip
WRITING FICTION PLOTS
Plot Number 18:
The Lost Weekend
Adam, Eve, and the Serpent
I think you’ll probably agree with my assessment of this plot. If you’re down in the mouth at the time, don’t write this fiction plot, and don’t read a novel with this plot in full swing. You might walk away depressed or in need of a good shot of caffeine to get you through the rest of the day. However, although this fiction plot can be a tear-jerker, it also requires intense planning and storyboarding, working your way to a whopper of a climax and a big “crash” at the end. Let’s take a look at the characteristics of the Wretched Excess Fiction Plot:
1. Wretched excess is generally about the psychological decline of a character.
2. Base the decline of the character on a character flaw.
3. Present the decline of your character in three phases:
a. How he/she is before events start to change him/her
b. How he/she is as he/she successively deteriorates
c. What happens after events reach a crisis point, forcing him/her either to give in completely to the flaw (tragedy) or to recover from it.
4. Develop the main character so that his/her decline evokes sympathy.
5. Don’t present him/her as a raving lunatic.
6. Take particular care in the development of your character because the plot depends on the author’s ability to convince the audience that the character is both real and worthy of their feelings for him/her.
7. Avoid being melodramatic. Don’t try to force emotion beyond what the scene can carry.
8. Be straightforward with information that allows the reader to understand your main character. Don’t hide anything that will keep your reader from being empathetic.
9. Most writers want the audience to feel for the main character, so don’t make your character commit crimes out of proportion of our understanding of who and what he/she is. It’s hard to be sympathetic with a person who’s a rapist or a serial murderer.
10. At the crisis point of your story, move your character either toward complete destruction or redemption. Don’t leave him swinging in the wind, because your reader will definitely not be satisfied.
11. Action in the plot should always relate to the character. Things happen because your main character does (or does not) do certain things. The cause and effects of your plot should always relate either directly or indirectly to your main character.
12. Don’t lose your character in his madness. Nothing beats personal experience when it comes to this plot. If you don’t understand the nature of the excess yourself (having experienced it), be careful about having your character do things that aren’t realistic for the circumstances.
So, the bottom line for writing this fiction plot is to do your homework. Thoroughly understand the nature of the excess you want to write about, and go for it!
Next time we’ll look at the fiction plot number 19 & 20: ASCENSION & DESCENSION.
All information compliments of:
Tobias, Ronald B (2011-12-15). 20 Master Plots (p. 189). F+W Media, Inc. Kindle Edition.
(I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in writing good fiction in any subgenre!)
Please check my latest publication on Amazon:
No Furlough for Mandie
The Snyder County Quilting Bee Series II
Mandie and Tobias Schmidt, missionaries to Jakarta, Indonesia, have waited two years to come home to Snyder County for a six-month furlough. With their nine-month-old baby, Lydia, the couple plans to spend quality time with their families and travel to numerous states, presenting their ministry to Mennonite churches, whose congregations pray for the couple and sometimes offer financial support.
But Mandie and Tobias’s furlough is cancelled after only a few weeks because of a crisis back in Indonesia. What happens that forces the couple to consider returning to Indonesia immediately?