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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:

PLOT #8

RIVALRY

Two Royal Navy men boxing for charity. The modern sport was codified in England.

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

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 basket full 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!

Marsha

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Amish wife Louellen Friesen questions her husband’s loyalty,

her Amish beliefs, and her own passions.

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Let’s Talk Grammar for a While

The Snippy Semicolon

Next to apostrophes, I’d say semicolons are probably the most misused punctuation marks used in the English language. I dare say most people aren’t really sure what to do with the little period with the comma dangling underneath, so they either guess, and guess wrongly, or they avoid using the punctuation mark altogether, which is probably a wise decision.

Sometimes semicolons can be used in a long series when commas are also needed, but this is such an unusual complex situation, I don’t think we even need to go there today. This information might be useful to someone who’s possibly writing a textbook on the classification of flora and fauna, but it’s not needed for the average writer. So let’s look at the two times when a semicolon is preferred in “normal” writing:

  1.  Sometimes when you have two compound sentences closely related, you can use a semicolon instead of a period and a capital letter to separate them:

Example: Mary decided to remodel the kitchen; she purchased new linoleum first.

Example: George booked a midnight flight to Paris; but his flight was cancelled due to snow.

Now, you’re probably wondering why you can’t just use a period and a capital to separate these sentences in the examples. Well, you can. It’s a writer’s preference. Often it might just add a little flavor to your voice to throw in a few semicolons instead of brand new sentences, especially when the two sentences are so closely related. Also, in the second example, there’s no reason why you couldn’t separate the two compound sentences with a comma either. Again, it’s the writer’s preference. Here’s the next common use for the semicolon:

  1. Use a semicolon to separate two clauses of a compound sentence or two compound sentences when divided by an adverb such as: however, then, thus, hence, indeed, besides, accordingly, and therefore. This example is the one I see misused the most. Here are some correct uses:

Example: Jack bought me a birthday gift; therefore, I sent him a thank-you note.

Example: I thought I was adopting a nice calm dog; however, Bailey is a little furball of energy!

Example: I started my Christmas shopping early; hence, I was done by December 15th.

IMPORTANT! Always remember to add a comma after the adverb!

So, there you have the two most common uses of the semicolon. Spruce up your writing by using it once in awhile; but use the little rascal correctly!

Next time, we’ll discuss everyone’s favorite punctuation mark—the overused comma!

Marsha

http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

www.marshahubler.com

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December 21, 2015

A Christmas Break from Serious Writing

A Clever Play on Words

If you’re like me at this time of the year with thoughts of Christmas crowding your mind, beautiful church services and fellowships, cantatas, family visits, shopping, decorating, and parties, you probably don’t have the time nor the brain power to concentrate on any serious writing. So…I’ll get back to posting blogs about writing good fiction in a week or two. For now, I’d like to give you a little Christmas breather and help you have a chuckle or two through this stressful season. Let’s look at some really clever writing.

The following puns are not from my creative juices. I received them in an email about two years ago with no byline. So enjoy my Christmas gift to you for 2015:

Crazy Puns to Make You Laugh (or Groan)

(Author Unknown)

I took a job at the bakery because I kneaded dough.

I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.

England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.dinosaur

Broken pencils are pointless.

What does a clock do when it’s hungry? It goes back four seconds.

A cross-eyed teacher had to quit her job because she couldn’t control her pupils.

I didn’t like my beard at first; then it grew on me.

They told me I had type A blood, but it was a type-O.

I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.

I wondered why the ball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.baseball

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I can’t put it down.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went down. Then it dawned on me.

How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.

I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.

Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

I tried to catch the fog, but I mist.Blue.Sad.Smiley.Face

(Groan)

 

Merry Christmas and a Great Christ-centered New Year!

Marsha

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