Archive for October, 2013

Today’s Writers’ Tips
Plot Number 8: The Rivalry Fiction Plot

Rivalry? Now that’s an interesting concept, especially when considering fiction plots. Rivalry…in other words COMPETITION between two characters.
I suppose the most classic example of this kind of plot would be found in the greatest book ever written: the Bible, with the conflict between God and Satan. So, let’s have a look at the characteristics that make a really good rivalry fiction story:

The Bible (God vs. Satan)
Paradise Lost
Moby Dick
 Ben Hur

1. The source of the conflict in the story should come as a result of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object.
2. The nature of the rivalry should be the struggle for power between the protagonist and the antagonist.
3. The adversaries can be equally matched.
4. Although their strengths needn’t match exactly, one rival should have compensating strengths to match (or almost match) the other.
5. The story should begin at the point of initial conflict, introducing the status quo before the conflict begins.
6. Start the action, (the catalyst scene), by having the antagonist instigate against the will of the protagonist.
7. The struggle between the rivals should be a struggle on the characters’ power curves. One is usually inversely proportional to the other: As the antagonist rises on the power curve, the protagonist falls.
8. The antagonist should gain superiority over the protagonist in the first dramatic phase. The protagonist usually suffers the actions of the antagonist and so is usually at a disadvantage.
9. The sides are usually clarified by the moral issues involved.
10. The second dramatic phase reverses the protagonist’s descent on the power curve through a reversal of fortune.
11. The antagonist is often aware of the protagonist’s empowerment.
12. The protagonist often reaches a point of parity on the power curve before a challenge is possible.
13. The third dramatic phase deals with the final confrontation between the rivals.
14. At the resolution, the protagonist restores order for himself and his world.
Wow! If you ask me, this is a basketful of important characteristics you need to incorporate into your rivalry plot. But if you read some classics and see how the authors of those works handled this subgenre, I’m sure you’ll be able to crank out your own rivalry fiction plot that could become a best seller!

Next time, we’ll look at plot # 9: The Underdog
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!”)
Happy writing!


Read Full Post »

October 14, 2013

Today’s Writers’ Tips


Continuing our study of fiction plots, we’ll look at plot number 7 today: riddle or mystery. If you’re a mystery writer, and a successful published one, I’m sure you have mastered the “tricks of the trade.” Writing a riddle or mystery has certain characteristics different from “regular” writing. So, let’s have a look at the important points needed in a good mystery:

PLOT # 7:


The Maltese Falcon

The Lady or the Tiger

The Man Who Knew Too Much

Murder, She Wrote

  1. The core of your riddle should be in clever writing: hide that which is in plain sight.
  2.  The tension of your riddle should come from the conflict between what happens as opposed to what seems to have happened.
  3. The riddle challenges the reader to solve it before the protagonist does. (And readers love this.)
  4. The answer to your riddle should always be in plain view without being obvious. (And that’s a “trick.”)
  5. The first dramatic phase should consist of the generalities of the riddle (persons, places, events).
  6. The second dramatic phase should consist of the specifics of the riddle (how persons, places, and events relate to each other in detail).
  7. The third dramatic phase should consist of the riddle’s solution, explaining the motives of the antagonist(s), and the real sequence of events (as opposed to what seemed to have happened).
  8. Write to a specific audience, i.e. age, sex, etc.
  9.  Choose between an open-ended and a close-ended structure. (Open-ended riddles have no clear answer; close-ended ones do.)

So, there you have it. If you’ve never tackled a mystery, maybe now you’ll be brave enough to try one. And the mystery to solve is CAN YOU DO IT?

Next time, we’ll look at plot # 8: RIVALRY

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!”)

Happy writing!


P.S. If you have any kids from 10 to 14, they’d probably love my mystery with a secret code that has to be cracked to find the Civil War coins:



When Woody, Moo, and Taz, sixth grade girls from Faith Christian School and the only members of the exclusive Pennsylvania Woods Super Sleuthhounds club, go to Garrett’s Gumshoe Getaway, a Christian junior detective training camp in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania, they get more than they bargain for.

Although Garrett Mitchell, retired state policeman and director of the camp, says that he has “planned” a mystery for the girls and nine other campers to solve, strange things start to happen that are not part of
the plan.

• Are there “real” Civil War gold coins hidden somewhere at Wolf Canyon?
• Who stole Garrett’s horse?
• Who put the burrs under Woody’s saddle that made her horse buck?
• Who fired shots in the air to scare the sleuthers off the case?

Join Woody and her friends as they set out to solve a mystery that has stumped even the best detectives in the state.


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: