Posts Tagged ‘Ronald Tobias’

May 5, 2014

Today’s Writers’ Tip


Plot Numbers 19 & 20:


The Godfather

The Elephant Man

Elmer Gantry

Citizen Cane

We’ve combined the last two fiction plots because they are very similar in their plot structure if you simply consider that one counteracts the other. Let’s look at the characteristics of building one of these super plots.

1. The focus of your story should be about one main protagonist.

2. That character should be strong-willed, charismatic, and seemingly unique. All other characters should revolve around this one.

3. At the heart of the story should be a moral dilemma. The dilemma tests the character of the main protagonist/ antagonist and is the foundation for the catalyst of change in his/her character.

4. Character and event are closely related to each other. Anything that happens should happen because of the main character. He/she is the force that affects events, not the reverse. (We are more interested in how the main character acts upon the world than how the world acts upon him/her.)

5. Show the main character as he/she was before the major change that altered his/her life so there’s a basis of comparison.

6. Show the character progressing through successive changes as a result of events. If it’s a story about a character who overcomes horrible circumstances, show the nature of that character while he/she still suffers under those circumstances. Then show how events change his/her nature during the course of the story.

7. Don’t “jump” from one character state to another; that is, show how the character moves from one state to another by giving us his/her motivation and intent.

8. If the plot is about the fall of a character, make certain the reasons for the fall are a result of character and not gratuitous circumstances. The reason for a rise may be gratuitous, i.e the character wins $ 5 million in the lottery, but it won’t be the reason for his/her fall.

9. The reasons for a character’s ability to overcome adversity should also be the result of his/her character, not some contrivance.

10. Try to avoid a straight dramatic rise or fall. Vary the circumstances in the character’s life: Create rises and falls along the way. Don’t just put your character on a rocket to the top and then crash. Vary intensity of the events. It may seem for a moment that your character has conquered his/her flaw, when in fact, it doesn’t last long. And vice versa.

11. After several setbacks, the character finally breaks through (as a result of his/her tenacity, courage, belief, etc.).

12. Always focus on your main character. Relate all events and characters to that main character. Show the character before, during, and after the change.

So, there you have a detailed list of how to develop a complicated plot of ascension or descension. Read books in this subgenre and study how the authors developed each point to make an exciting, nail-biting story.

Next time we’re going to review how to develop a good story arc.

All information about plots 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!



Please check my latest publication on Amazon:


Volume 5

The Snyder County Quilting Bee Series II


Rhonda.Finds.True.Love.Cover  http://www.amazon.com/Snyder-County-Quilting-Bee-II-ebook/dp/B00K3EQHWS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399306867&sr=1-1&keywords=Rhonda+Finds+True+Love

Louellen Friesen’s neice Rhonda Bidleman and Rodney Hornberger are set to be engaged. But when Rodney’s old flame, Sharon Hoffnagle from Wisconsin, shows up in Mapletown claiming her two-year-old child is Rodney’s, Rodney has a terribly hard decision to make, one that will leave someone heart-broken.

What does Rodney do? Does he follow the Mennonite church’s edicts to marry Sharon or pursue his own heart’s desire?


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