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)
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!”)