Saturday 14 April 2012


A quick review and something to think about as you are forming your own story.

CHARACTER plus meaningful, directed action toward a previously planned and desired end--that is the meaning and purpose of plotting.

If you take a character from one situation where he is content and place him in another situation where he is not, problems are bound to be generated. Immediately there is a state of unrest, conflict, or adventure--especially if the character decides to improve his lot, attain a goal, or be assertive in some way.

The odds should be against the hero, the hero should struggle (physically or mentally) to attain the goal, and finally achieve the goal in some original manner.

                                                          12 Point Plot Structure

1.  Who is the main character?

2.  Who or what is the antagonist? (There can be more than one antagonist and those antagonists can be a person,bad weather, or a situation the main character just can't get out of, etc.)

3. Who are the other people in the story? Do you have a good reason to have them there?

4. What does the main character want? It should be vital.

5. How important is what he/she wants? It should be very,very,very important.

6. How does the antagonist prevent or foil the main character from achieving his/her goal? This will be your conflict.

7. What does the main character do about the obstacle? They must win through their own power, not luck or coincidence. The main character doing something about the obstacle starts the action.

8. What are the results of his/her action? Here complication should set in.

9. What do these complications lead to? Hopefully, something interesting.

10. What is the climax? Where the intensity and interest in the story reach a high pitch. The main character must decide what to do because of the kind of person he/she is.

11. Does the main character accomplish his/her purpose? This is the story outcome.

12.What is the theme? What basic truth has been illustrated through your main character?

Once you have plotting down pat. The next step should be editing. I know, we all hate editing.

But from my experience, editing a story at least 10 times (and over several months--not in one sitting) will make for a much tighter story.

The more words you can cut from the original story, the more concise your wording will be.

One of the most valuable things I learned through my years with The Institute of Children's Literature and journalism school was: Don't fall in love with your words. We all have a tendency to babble, so learn not to babble. Cut your words and make your story read smooth.


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