November 11, 2013
Today’s Writers’ Tips
Plot Number 9: The Underdog
Plot Number 10: Temptation
Today we’re going to look at two different plots instead of one. Because plot number 9 is so short, we’ll look at plot number 10 as well. If you got a good handle on last time’s plot number 8, RIVALRY, then you’ll have no problem with number 9, THE UNDERDOG, because they’re very similar. So, let’s get to it:
Joan of Arc
- The underdog plot is similar to the rivalry plot except that the protagonist is not matched equally against the antagonist. It looks like there’s no chance of the hero winning.
- The antagonist, which may be a person, place, or thing (such as a bureaucracy), has much greater power than the protagonist.
- The dramatic phases are similar to the rivalry plot becaue it follows the power curves of the characters.
- The good news! The underdog usually (but not always) overcomes his opposition.
PLOT # 10
Adam and Eve
Our Lady’s Child
1. The temptation plot is a character plot. It examines the motives, needs, and impulses of human character.
2. This plot should depend on morality and the effects of giving in to temptation. By the end of the story, the character should have moved from a lower moral plane (in which he gives in to temptation) to a higher moral plane as a result of learning the sometimes harsh lessons of giving in to temptation.
3. The conflict should be interior and take place within the protagonist, although it has exterior results in the action. The conflict should result from the protagonist’s inner turmoil—a result of knowing what he should do and then not doing it.
4. The first dramatic phase should establish the nature of the protagonist then be followed by the antagonist (if there is one).
5. Next, the nature of the temptation is introduced, which establishes its effect on the protagonist, and shows how the protagonist struggles over his decision.
6. The protagonist then gives in to the temptation. There could be some short-term gratification.
7. The protagonist often will rationalize his decision to yield to temptation.
8. The protagonist might go through a period of denial after yielding to the temptation.
9. The second dramatic phase should reflect the effects of yielding to the temptation. Short-term benefits diminish and the negative sides emerge.
10. The protagonist should try to find a way to escape responsibility and punishment for his act.
11. The negative effects of the protagonist’s actions should reverberate with increasing intensity in the second dramatic phase.
12. The third dramatic phase should resolve the protagonist’s internal conflicts. The story ends with atonement, reconciliation, and forgiveness.
Wow, there are some complicated details to writing a TEMPTATION plot, so get your notepad ready and incorporate these points in your manuscript. You’re on your way to creating a fascinating read
Next time, we’ll look at plot # 11: Metamorphosis
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!”)