06 May 2008

What do you think when you think plot?

Kids and teens learn in school that plot is a series of events linked by cause and effect.

That definition of makes me think a jewel thief wrote it. Someone dressed in black in a room full of shadows. A lightbulb hangs from the center of the room. She's wearing all black, and chalking out for the others her plot to steal a diamond ring.

Step One:
Get past the guard at the front door

Right off the bat and she is in trouble. HOW does she get by the guard at the door? The character element.

If you're a more intuitive writer, you come at this story from the character first -- A woman dressed in black breezes past the bank guard, her lips pursed in a kiss reserved for friends only.

Either way, a writer asks: because that happened, what happens next? (scenes linked by cause and effect).

Character messes with a straight-forward plot based on the series of events.

I prefer thinking about plot as all three threads intertwined:
Character Emotional Development
Dramatic Action
Thematic Significance

What do you think when you think plot?