29 October 2007

Elements of Plot

The following are questions that came up after the last post. Thought the questions and answers might help other writers so I include them below. Happy plotting...

Q: So basically it’s the scene(s) in the climax section that we have to watch out for in terms of the final CED, to see if the character has evolved from the initial fatal flaw in the beginning of the story?

A: Yes, the scene in the Climax is what each and every scene has been driving towards throughout the entire story, which is why it's a good practice NOT to go back and start over again until you have written all the way to the Climax and are pretty sure what that scene is. If you find yourself in that cycle of constantly going back and beginning again, you'll perfect those early scenes that may end up being cut when you finally understand the Climax. Once you know the Climax, you have a much better idea of how best to begin the project.

Q: And what you are saying is that it is suffice by just marking it in a different color to denote the arc or character journey in emotional development? Subplots, therefore don’t need to be marked separately in Plot Planner because it is intertwined within the Dramatic Action?

A: Some subplots deserve their own Plot Planner. In that case I recommend that one line is above the other so you can see how the subplot works with the major Dramatic Action and Character Emotional Development plot.

Q: On the last question, so summaries don’t show thematic details?

A: On a subtle level, thematic significance shows up everywhere ~~ in scene and summary ~~ though word choice, mood, etc. However, you only plot out scenes on the Plot Planner and on the Scene Tracker.

Q: (Anyways, how would we know to mark the summaries for Theme in plot planner if we don’t even track that info in scene tracker). Is my understanding then to just mark those scenes (not summaries) whether above or below the line, that have thematic details, correct?

A: This is true only in later drafts. The Thematic Signficance does not always emerge until after the story becomes more stable ~~ beyond the first couple of drafts. In the early drafts, don't worry about the Thematic Significance. You'll have enough to work with just honing down the Dramatic Action plot and the Character Development plot.

I apologize if I seem to be reiterating my questions, I just want to make sure I am interpreting your response correctly. I know you are extremely busy and I really do appreciate all of your help.

ps. You're right, PP and ST is addicting. And I have resumed back to my writing with more confidence! By the way, I ordered your DVD with the focus on CHildren Writers and eagerly await to be enlightened by your method again. Perhaps by watching you explain your method, I'll get a greater sense on everything you have written in your book.

A: Yes, I believe you will get a greater sense of how the Plot Planner works and how the Character Development profile helps to build the Character Development plot line. Let me know what you think.

Q: Was also wondering, are all of your DVD workshops pretty similiar and touch on everything that is on the book or do you delve into any advance topics on plotting for example with the DVD you have that uses Memoir of a Geisha?

A: The DVDs are different in that they are live workshops that were taped (some better in quality than others).

Thanks in advance Martha for everything and for your continued support!!!

A: Thank you, and great good luck with your project!