Sunday 3 March 2013

Plotting The Plot In Children's Books.

Plotting--the fuel of great storytelling. In a story, just about anything can happen, as long as it comes about logically, makes sense, and follows a few rules. Plotting is also the most fun part of writing a story.

Illustration by Samantha Kickingbird

Here are some of my suggestion for great plotting:

**  A plot proceeds logically from beginning to end. Anything can happen in the story, but it must make sense and not just be introduced into the story haphazardly. There must be a reason for everything that happens, regardless of how bizarre that reason may be.

** The main character needs a strong motive for what they want to achieve. Their motive may be honor, vengeance, or love. Whatever the motive, it must spur the main character to act.

** Adding conflict is vital to making the story interesting. Conflict  can be whatever or whoever is giving the main character a hard time. In writing children's books, the conflict can be a villain, a situation, or even a storm that forces the main character to fight to attain their goal.

**Dialogue that is exciting. Every single word of dialogue should move the story forward in some way. If it doesn't, then it's babbling. Moving the story forward with dialogue can: 
           --make the character's intentions or motives become clear.
           --explain the emotions of the character.
           --describe something or someone of importance, and at the same time tell the reader how the  character feels about it or what they intend to do about it.

**Characters that are credible and real (no matter who or what they are) will move the story forward naturally. Know your characters inside out and  those characters will always say and do things that are credible. Characters that are credible makes the reader really care about and connect with those characters.

**Logical surprise is the groundwork for humorous situations. But the surprise must come from some credible mannerism of that character or unfold naturally from the scene. Humor makes a character endearing. Even in   a bad situation, a character can do or say something funny, and that can make the scene that much more memorable.

**Write simply and well. Simple writing does not mean dull--it means writing with clarity and writing artfully, with grace. Simple writing is hard work, but the more times you edit your manuscript, the more simplicity and clarity will come forward.

**Edit, edit, edit.  Re-word sentences to read more gracefully. Take out all those words/sentences that don't do anything to move the plot/characterization forward. Make everything your characters do and say have meaning. This is the art of good plotting. And all the writer's hard work will be worth it in the final story.

copyright, Diane Mae Robinson, 2013

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  1. Plotting the Plot is a good post. You have put everything out there in good fashion. I found this a good reminder and the simplicity you use in explaining each component made all of this easier to understand.

    Have you thought of writing a book on writing? Seriously, your explanations of plotting, using commas, etal. are all wonderful posts that anyone from novice to published can find something new or easier to remember. Put those and the ones still in your head together and I think you have a book on writing for kids.

  2. Hi Sue,
    Well, I have thought about writing a grammar book, and that's mostly because I have read so many that are just plain confusing.

    I like to take those grammar rule, mule them over awhile, and write them out more simply.

    I'm glad you enjoy the post also.