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Today’s Writers’ Tip

PLOT FIVE: ESCAPE

Fiction Plots

Continuing our study of fiction plots, we’ll look at plot number 5 today: ESCAPE. We’ve all chewed our fingernails while we read books or watched movies in which the main characters were trying to escape from a prison (POW camp), an evil stepmother, or a lonely island. To us the escape seemed so obvious, we wanted to scream at the hero or heroine and tell them to just try a little harder or look a little deeper at his/her surroundings to find the way out. But the nerve-wracking suspense is what makes the writing of such books and movies so attractive to us adventure seekers.  Let’s take a look at the defining characteristics of an Escape Fiction Plot and see what makes a good one:

PLOT #5

ESCAPE

The Great Escape

Stalag 17

Cinderella

Castaway

The Characteristics:

  1. The main character is confined against his/her will (often unjustly) and wants to escape.
  2. The moral argument of the plot is black and white: good versus evil.
  3. The main character, or hero, is the victim. (Remember, in the RESCUE plot, the hero saves the victim.)
  4. The first dramatic phase of the story deals with the hero’s imprisonment and any initial attempts at escape, which fail.
  5. The second dramatic phase deals with the hero’s plans for escape. These plans are almost always thwarted.
  6. The third dramatic phase deals with the actual escape.
  7. The antagonist—and it can be just the island— has control of the hero during the first two dramatic phases; the hero gains control in the last dramatic phase.

So there you have it. Consider some of the escape plots you’ve seen or read. The really good ones followed this formula to a T. If you’re planning to write an escape plot, you’ve now got the tools to make your story a nail biter too.

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!”)

I hope 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%.

Next time, we’ll have a look at PLOT #6: REVENGE

Happy writing!

Marsha

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