September 30, 2013
Today’s Writers’ Tips
PLOT # 6: REVENGE
Continuing our study of fiction plots, we’ll look at plot number 6 today: Revenge.
Ha! Here’s your chance to get even with all those evil people in your life who did you wrong; of course, you’ll change the names to protect the guilty, but you should have a barrel of fun writing what you’ve always wanted to say—or do—to those wicked folks in your life. So let’s have a look at:
The Outlaw Josey Wales
As you write your revenge plot:
1. Your main character should seek retaliation against the antagonist for a real or imagined injury.
2. Most (but not all) revenge plots focus more on the act of the revenge than on a meaningful examination of the character’s motives.
3. Your hero’s justice is “wild” vigilante justice that usually goes outside the limits of the law.
4. Work on manipulating the feelings of your reader by avenging the injustices of the world by a man or woman of action who is forced to act by events when the institutions that normally deal with these problems prove inadequate.
5. Your hero should have moral justification for vengeance.
6. Your hero’s vengeance may equal but might not exceed the offense perpetrated against the hero (the punishment must fit the crime).
7. Your hero first should try to deal with the offense in traditional ways, such as relying on the police— an effort that usually fails.
8. The first dramatic phase establishes the hero’s normal life, which the antagonist interferes with by committing a crime. Make your reader understand the full impact of the crime against the hero and what it costs both physically and emotionally. Your hero then gets no satisfaction by going through official channels and realizes he must pursue his own cause if he wants to avenge the crime.
9. The second dramatic phase includes your hero making plans for revenge and then pursuing the antagonist. Your antagonist may elude the hero’s vengeance either by chance or design. This act usually pits the two opposing characters against each other.
10. The last dramatic phase includes the confrontation between your hero and antagonist. Often the hero’s plans go awry, forcing him to improvise. Either your protagonist succeeds or fails in his attempts. In contemporary revenge plots, the hero usually doesn’t pay much of an emotional price for the revenge. This allows the action to become cathartic for the reader.
So there you have ten points that you need to develop as you write your revenge plot. Work on these details, perfect them, and you just might write yourself a best-selling novel!
I believe as you outline your fiction plots, you can better define which plot you’re developing and better understand how to incorporate many of these characteristics to improve your writing 100%.
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!”)
Next time, we’ll have a look at PLOT #7: The Riddle or Mystery