Thursday, January 12, 2017
Overview Plot Development: Patterns Part Three: Story of Purpose
Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults
“It must be something he or she will be willing to fight for with tremendous drive and force.” Lee Wyndham
A sense of purpose achieved is often seen in short stories where a character has a problem or purpose and must chose what to do about it. And it works equally well for a developed novel when the problem creates several twists and turns.
Often the problem can be stated as a question, which then makes the solution to the answer. The problem must be valid and within the possible achievement of the main character. Then the plot evolves from the situations and the characters. The solutions are achieved by one, or all, of three means: courage, ingenuity and special capacity.
In the engaging 1880’s historical, The Adventures of Pearley Monroe by Marci Seither, twelve-year-old Pearley faces a variety of problems including a jewel thief, a mining explosion, and a bear. One special capacity, when he encounters the bear, is his knowledge and experience so that he can save himself and his little sister. If his sister had been the main character then her being little could have been the key to a solution to save them. Or the fact that she was a very fast runner.
Definition of Purpose achievement: situation +problem +solution=synopsis. The Character has to keep struggling right up to the end. The Climax is the answer.
This pattern works well in all genres. Here are a few more examples to explore.
Realistic: Jacob Have I Loved, YA, by Katherine Paterson (courage and ingenuity).
Mystery: The 101 Dalmatians, ages 8-12), by Dodie Smith, (courage and ingenuity).
Quest: The Hero and the Crown, The Blue Sword, ages 11-YA, by Patricia McKillip (courage and ingenuity and special capacity).
Jane Fitz-Randolph recommends answering each of these questions before you write a Story of Purpose Achieved pattern.
“What does my character want?
What prevents him from getting it?
What does he immediately do about it?
What happens because of what he does?
What Black Moment does all this lead to? (This is the crisis)
What, finally, does he do to achieve his purpose? (This is the climax)”
1. Go to the library and choose a variety of magazines in different age groups. Skim read through the short stories, and see how many fall into the purpose category.
2. Choose the plot line that held the most interest and adapt the pattern to one of your own story ideas.
Share: What did you decide your character wants?
Read deep, marcy