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

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Overview Plot Development: Patterns Part Six: The Story of Decision

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

“He was like a ronin—no pride, no morals—bullying, stealing, even killing a man for a turnip.” The Master Puppeteer by Katherine Paterson.

In the Story of Decision the problem is always an immediate need to make a decision between two courses of action that are either morally right or morally wrong.

The right course may be apparent or the character may have honest doubts. The conflict will continue right up to the Crisis when decision can no longer be put off. When he acts upon his choice at the climax then his action reveals his decision.

This is an especially strong pattern for the YA market especially when tied into basic needs and urges. Whether the choices are positive or negative it is a story of character growth and constant clash both within the mind of the main character and in the outer situations in which he or she must choose their path.
Take for instance the need to belong. Someone new to a school, or to an organization that means a lot personally, may find themselves being asked to participate in activities or actions that make them very uncomfortable.  The more choices made then become more decisions that begin to affect every part of their life. And the murkier they seem to become.

In The Master Puppeteer, a starving Jiro leaves his parents to become an apprentice puppeteer in order to eat, but then becomes entranced with the profession and strives to learn. But both the hunger for physical nourishment and professional nourishment become more and more confusing as he uncovers lies and deceit and then people he cares about are put in danger. He struggles to determine what exactly is his code of honor in the midst of corruption swirling all around him.

Action Steps:

1.     Make a list of decisions that your character has to make for each of the basic needs mentioned earlier.

2.     In which one is your character the most vulnerable? Why?

3.     How could her decision become a moral battleground for her?

Share: Why do you think your character is most vulnerable in this basic need?

                                                               Read deep, marcy

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