Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Writing craft

Plotting 101

Back to craft – Over on Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer’s workshop ( they discussed the great divide of writers into two camps. Those who are character driven (Jenny) and those who are plot driven (Bob). They also mention the reality that you need both to write a good story.

In an informal survey of romance writers most confess to being character driven. Makes sense since the heart of romance is character conflict – the inner barriers that keep these two meant-for-each-other lovers from professing their love and committing to the relationship. Even in character driven romance plot helps. And for those interested in writing cross genre, like romantic suspense or moving on to single title then mastering plot is essential.

Plots are the story’s underpinning structure. The heart of the story is question. Will these two people find love? (romance) Who did it? (mystery) Will good win over evil? (westerns, lots of sci-fi, thrillers) Will the protagonist do the right thing? (popular literary theme)

The plot provides the framework for answering the story question restated as a goal. In a romance the hero and heroine are usually both protagonists. Therefore the basis for their conflict should be character driven.

Hero’s GMC statement:

Dick loves Jane and wants to be with her. (Goal) Because she is a good woman. (Motivation) But he is an outcast and she would be shunned by the town that loves her (Conflict).

Heroine’s GMC statement:

Jane love Dick and wants to be with him. (Goal) Because he is a man of honor – falsely accused.(Motivation) But he rejects her love. (Conflict)

Next comes the business the showing the reader these things as the characters live their story.

There are three books I recommend, each excellent in its own way, that cover the basics of plotting in much more depth.

Vogler’s, The Writer’s Journey

McKee’s, Story

Bell’s, Plot and Structure


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