11 September 2013

Grasp Plot and Theme with the Help of a Picture Book

You've been writing off and on all year. You feel good about your characters. You've written exciting action and worked in some terrific twists and turns. You refer to your pre-plot  Plot Planner often and everyday face the challenge of finding the next perfect scene to write (or, if you're using The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing, you're everyday following the next prompt on your way to the end), like putting together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. What drives your energy for showing up to write day after day is the exploration into the deeper meaning of your story and what your story reflects about you and your life.

You begin with an unusual setting and some "different" characters.

You set the time and establish the protagonist's goal and challenge.

You find yourself writing about an obsession.
Say it's with finding out who you really are, your own unique identity (insert your obsession). Generate scenes with that in mind ~~ the character's interaction with others, trying to figure out her place in the world ~~ that's better ~~ a universal theme for kids and all of us...

As you write, look for clues how to make your story thematically significant and all the scenes to add up to something meaningful: how DOES one figure out her place in the world? Through trial and error? Okay. And so what, really, does that mean overall? Finding one's place in the world takes trial and error, but in the end....

The anwer to the ... above is best when worthy enough for you to give up hours of your life to write, worthwhile for the character to go through the struggle of a journey and worthwhile for the reader to give up hours of her time to read your story.

Picture books, because they push away subplots, make the concept of plot and theme easier to grasp.

Take, for instance, Where the Wild Things Are by Sendax.

What is it? 34 pages? Many of which are drawings. I can't remember and I'm not going to get up and check, but lets say there are 17 pages of written language.

The Beginning : 1/4 of entire project introduces characters while showing where and when the story takes place, and as he demonstrates a major character flaw that will help drive the action of the story.

In the Beginning of Where the Wild Things Are we meet Max, the cat and the mom. Max shows his wild side and drives everyone crazy.

End of Beginning : a scene signifying no turning back, entering the heart of the journey toward transformation

At the end of the Beginning of Where the Wild Things Are, Max is sent to his room with no dinner and there he watches his room turn into a forest or is it a jungle?

The Middle : 1/2 of the page count showing trials and errors, antagonists -- whatever keeps the conflict, tension, suspense and/or curiosity high.
Where the Wild Things Are ~~ journey to Wild Things, conquering wild things

Middle of the Middle : Showing an unusual world
Where the Wild Things Are ~~ shows 4 or more pages of covered with pictures demonstrating wildness

Crisis : Middle builds toward the 3/4 mark and the biggest scene of all
Crisis is a scene forcing the character to feel true depth of emotion and come to a new awareness.
Anything energetically higher than anything that has come before
Where the Wild Things Are ~~Max has everything, but he is lonely for love.

The End : Lots of significance toward the Climax.
Where the Wild Things Are ~~ journey home.

Climax : The character "showing" the transformation
Where the Wild Things Are ~~ settles down to eat his dinner

One page of Resolution ~ his new life from then on
Where the Wild Things Are ~~ and his dinner is hot.

Of course for a novel, or screenplay, or historical you have lots of sub-plots that follow their own template as described above at a sub-level ~~ they are sub-plots, afterall.
(NOTE: click on the green italicized words above for a video explanation)

~~~~~Take the PlotWriMo Pre-Challenge

Complete an entire draft of your novel, memoir, screenplay by December 1st and in time for PLOTWRIMO.

The following resources support you in your pre-challenge:
1) Plot your story step-by-step with the help of
The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories

2) Read The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master

3) Refer to The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing
for writing prompts for scene #1 to the very The End, one prompt at a time.

4) Watch the Plot Series: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay? on YouTube. Scroll down on the left of this post for a directory of all the steps to the series. 27-step tutorial on Youtube

5) Watch the Monday Morning Plot Book Group Series on YouTube. Scroll down on the right of this post for a directory the book examples and plot elements discussed.

For more tips about how to use plot and the Universal Story in your novel, memoir or screenplay, visit:
Plot Whisperer on Pinterest 

***** Knowing what to write where in a story with a plot reinforces daily writing practice and allows for more productivity in your writing. Whether writing a first draft or revising, if you falter wondering what comes next in a story with a plot, follow the prompts in The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.

Today, I write.