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

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Overview Plot Development: Patterns Part Five: The Story of Misunderstanding, Discovery, and Reversal

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

“No dogs,” the preacher said. “We’ve talked about this before. You don’t need a dog.”

“I know it,” I said. “I know I don’t need a dog. But this dog needs me. Look,” I said. I went to the trailer door and I hollered, “Winn-Dixie!”

                                         Excerpt from Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo

Both India Opal Buloni and her preacher Daddy were wrong. They both needed the big, skinny, ugly stray dog she found in the grocery store.

Right at the beginning the surface Misunderstanding is clear. What is not clear is the underlying needs they both were holding onto, especially emotionally and spiritually.

Fitz—Randolph says, “We all misunderstand people, situations, motives, ourselves; we often discover our mistake and reverse our erroneous thinking and course of action.”

In this pattern the misunderstanding must be genuine and nothing can talk him out of it. Only through experience can the truth come to light. The mind attitude is changed by the heart action through action. And once the main character discovers the truth he must to do something as a result. The reverse of thinking changes a course of action.

In Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, young Jim Hawkins is convinced the cook, Long John Silver is a friend, until he hears him planning the mutiny. Then they become enemies. Yet at the end Long John saves Jim’s life—another reversal. Long John is a thief, but he does not want Jim to die.

How would the well-known Cinderella story change if in fact the stepmother was trying to protect her, or the big bad wolf attempted to protect the three little pigs?

Action Steps:

1.     Make a list of mistaken ideas you have personally had over the past few years about a situation or a person or a motive or yourself.

2.     Choose one of them for your main character to react to a major or minor character. How does it change your plot?

3.     Go back to one of our previous exercises where you made a list of attitudes for your character. Reverse half of them. How does the tone of your story change?

Share: Did any surprise you?

Read deep, marcy

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