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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Overview Plot Development: Patterns Part One

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

“Plot is an arrangement of events, an ordering of raw life.”
                                                                                                Ronald B. Tobias

Tobias sees plot as a process and not an object, but does note that there are many patterns that grow out of the process.

According to Tobias there are plots of the body (forza) or plots of the mind (forda).
Is it an action story, an adventure that relies on doing? Or does your story deal more with the inner workings of character and human nature?

The mechanics of the story is shaped by which plot is chosen. Plot driven, or character driven? Patterns of action, or patterns of behavior?

Often genre fiction will have a straight line, no flashbacks, limited sub-plots, whereas mainstream has multiple plot, complications and sub-plots, and may use flashbacks. 

There are several opinions as to how many plot patterns there are and how they can be interpreted.  The very basic two are considered to be ‘hero/heroine leaves town’ or ‘a stranger comes to town’.

Tobias has an outline for both 20 Master Plots and 36 Plot Patterns. Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D, lists 5 Dramatic Throughlines, 6 Conflicts, and 21 Genres in her book Story Structure architect. From that foundation she develops 55 Dramatic Situations.

Regardless of what style pattern you choose there are four basic characteristics that each requires according to Tobias.

1.    Study the pattern that best suits your story
2.    Determine what the dramatic phases of the pattern are (usually three or four)
3.    Translate each dramatic phase of the pattern into an action.
4.    Begin the scene as late possible.
Below are some examples that Schmidt gives for a character succeeds Throughline.

Action Steps:

1.     Choose two different ways for your character from the list below.

2.     By what means do they use to accomplish their goal?

1.     Problem>Solution
2.     Conflict>Peace
3.     Danger>Safety
4.     Question>Answer

Share: Which one do you prefer and why?

Read deep, marcy

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