Tag Archive: writing tips


FIVE PARTS TO A PLOT

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR PLOT

The Plot, as defined by Wikipedia, is a literary term defined as the events that make up a story, particularly as they relate to one another in a pattern, in a sequence, through cause and effect, or by coincidence.  One is generally interested in how well this pattern of events accomplishes some artistic or emotional effect.  An intricate, complicated plot is called an imbroglio, but even the simplest statements of plot may include multiple inferences, as in traditional ballads.”

Okay, so now we’ve established a definition, but what does it really mean?

The plot is the story as a whole and it can be  broken down into sections.  Gustav Freytag, (1816 –1895) a German dramatist and novelist, came up with his own idea for  narrative structure.  He called it The Freytag’s pyramid and it consists of five phases.

The first phase is the exposition phase.  Here is where the characters come alive and the readers connect to them by learning about them, how they relate to each  other, their goals, and motives.  Most importantly, the reader connects to the main character, his/her goals, and the outcome if those goals are met, or not met.

The second phase is the rising action phase.  Here is where the character(s) starts on the path to achieve their goal.  This is where the conflict begins to grow, including sub-conflicts, mini plots, which can hinder, help, or both in achieving the main goal.  At the end of this phase, the character should be close to facing their problem/goal leading us up to next step.

The third phase is the climax phase.  Most of us probably already know what the climax is.  It’s that point in the story where the character(s) are close to their goal. The character can begin to see the barriers being removed (or at least easier) and is now ready to engage with the antagonist.  Then, the reader, tossed into the action, gets to see the two (or more) combat.  No clear winner is set, yet, until phase five. Both the protagonist and the antagonist then start to plan on how to win over the other for the next battle.

The fourth phase is the falling action.  I love this phase!  This is where everything goes wrong.  Our main hero makes the wrong the decision or shows flaws in his/her character.  This is where the antagonist gets the upper hand and our hero seems like he/she will never reach that goal.  The reader might even question if the hero really is the hero. However, this phase is also about tying up most of the loose ends so that when the final phase starts, the focus is on the last battle.

The fifth phase is the resolution phase.  Here is where the final conflict happens and one wins.  Which side wins, what lead up to it, why it happens that way, what it means, and what are the long-term effects.

There are other outlines and story structures on the internet.  So find what works for you.  When I looked up plot structures, this really made me think about my own writing and the areas I can go back to and touch up.

So I hope this was helpful and as always, if you have anything you would like to add, make sure to post the comments on my website directly.  This way others can also benefit from your comments.   My website gets over a hundred hits a week (wow, I know right) and most are writers looking for writing tips.

So keep on writing, editing, and reading.

Happy writing…

Shelly Goodman Wright

www.shellygoodmanwright.com

FB  Writer-Shelly Goodman Wright

FB Writer’s Critique Group

Sited http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plot_(narrative)

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    THE OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

 I love getting questions!  The question HOW DO I FORMAT MY MANUSCRIPT for editors/publishers is one I’ve been asked more than once.  Of course, this is my first publishing deal and I know that every editor/publisher/agent will have different requirements, but there is a basic standard that helped me make the conversion process simple and it’s easy to search for. 

The basics:

  1. 1.  Set your font to New Times Roman and size 12 
  2. Set one inch margins all the way around
  3.  Set paragraphs to double space (with no extra space in-between paragraphs)
  4. Do not use all caps for emphasizing (the writing should set the tone)
  5. Do not use a bunch of returns for a new chapter to start on a new page.  Return twice, title your chapter center, return twice and begin the next chapter.
  6. For scene shifts, center XXXXX on a line by itself, with a space before and space after
  7. Internal direct thoughts should be in Italics, but don’t over use it.

            I suggest keeping your chapters in separate files when you first start writing.  It makes it easier to go back and edit work or add to chapters.  In the end, editor/publishers/agents will want this all in one file, but we have a lot more work to do before we get to that stage.  Strolling through a 1000 page document is not fun and left me frustrated.  I found separate chapters (and keeping all my drafts) was the best way to go.

            Now, I hope I’ve given some of you a jumping off point and we can all get some writing done.  It’s time to line the shelves with must reads and tales forgotten with new twists and turns.  We write because we must.  We write to unleash our souls.  We write because writing is our purpose.

Happy Writing…keep the questions coming. 

Shelly Goodman Wright

Author of A LIGHT INTO THE DARKNESS a Christian Suspense/Romance novel—FEB 2012

http://www.shellygoodmanwright.com