Archive for August, 2013

August 19, 2013

Today’s Writers’ Tips

Fiction Plots

Continuing our study of fiction plots, we’ll look at plot number 3 today: PURSUIT. We’ve all read books or watched movies in which someone was chasing someone else or something (an animal, hidden treasure, or even a dream), and we bit our nails and sat on the edge of our seats, wondering if our hero or heroine would ever reach the “unreachable star.”


Well, there’s a trick to writing such suspense. So let’s take a look at the defining characteristics of a Pursuit Fiction Plot:

PLOT # 3


Moby Dick

Les Miserables

Sherlock Holmes

1. The first dramatic phase of the story should have three stages:

a)  the ground rules for the chase

b)  the stakes involve

c)  the race should begin with a motivating incident

2. In the pursuit plot, the chase is more important than the people who take part in it.

3. There has to be a real danger of the pursued getting caught.

4 .The main character (the one pursuing) should have a fairly good chance of catching the pursued.  He might even catch the pursued momentarily, only to have the pursued escape.

5. This plot is filled with physical action.

6. The story and your characters must be stimulating, engaging, and unique.

7.  The main characters and situations should be against type in order to avoid clichés.

8.  Keep the situation in one location as much as possible because the smaller the area for the chase, the greater the tension.

Are you ready to tackle a “pursuit” fiction plot? Use these guidelines, and you might have the next best seller in that subgenre. So, get your “chaser” and “chasey” out of their boxes and go for it!



Tobias, Ronald B (2011-12-15). 20 Master Plots (p. 189). F+W Media, Inc. Kindle Edition.

Next time, we’ll have a look at PLOT #4: RESCUE

Happy writing!

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August 5, 2013

Today’s Writers’ Tips

Fiction Plots

Not too long ago, I finished a very good writers’ resource book, TWENTY MASTER PLOTS AND HOW TO BUILD THEM by Ronald Tobias.  Before reading the book, I was totally unaware of how many different kinds of plots a writer could contrive in his/her fiction work. I’ve used this book as one of my primary resources the last week of July as I taught a work-in-progress class at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference in Montrose, PA. This resource by Tobias is packed with useful information for any writer of fiction, who desires to improve his skills for writing an appealing, can’t-put-the-book-down manuscript. Do yourself a favor and buy this book. Last time I posted here (July 22, 2013), I listed the first master plot, QUEST, and its defining characteristics. Today we’ll look at the second plot Ronald Tobias describes.

[ALL INFORMATION COMPLIMENTS OF  Tobias, Ronald B (2011-12-15). 20 Master Plots (p. 189). F+W Media, Inc.. Kindle Edition.]

PLOT # 2


20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Star Wars

Robinson Crusoe

What should you focus on as you write an adventure plot?

  1. The focus of your story should be on the journey more than on the main character making the journey.
  2. Your story should include new and strange places and events.
  3. The hero goes in search of fortune. He never finds it at home.
  4. The hero should be motivated by someone or something to begin the adventure.
  5. The events in each scene depend on the same chain of cause-and-effect relationships that motivate the main character at the start.
  6. The hero doesn’t necessarily have to change in any meaningful way by the end of the story.
  7. Your adventure could include romance.

So, there you have it—useful information that is short and to the point. Use these tips to create a new world with exciting characters who go on an adventure that none of us would ever forget if we were privileged to visit the faraway place with the strange sounding name. Next time we’ll look at Plot # 3: PURSUIT. Happy writing!


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