Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Plot 101: Quotes and Links to Help You On Your Way - Caroline Starr Rose

When revising, it's essential you study your plot carefully to determine what's working and what's not. Here are some quotes and links I used in my revision class last spring. I hope they point you in the right direction with your own work:
plot line
Quotes from Novel Metamorphosis:
“The connection between the inner and outer arc, the emotional arc and the plot arc, isn’t always easy to see! When you set up an initial plot conflict, you need to immediately ask yourself what obligatory action scene is set up. When the inner conflict is set up, you need to ask what epiphany is set up.”

Quotes from Second Sight:
Good fiction creates “deliberate emotion...through immersing us in the character’s lived experience [via] well-crafted prose: prose where every word has been considered carefully by the author and belongs in the work; prose that communicates clearly.”

WANTS = action plot / NEEDS = emotional plot

“The difference between starting with premise and starting with character is usually that in a premise plot, the character has something done to him or her from the outside; and in a character plot, the character is the one who causes the action, thanks to the Desire.”

Avoiding the infodump: “Information must emerge organically, usually within the context of action.”

“A kid reader, whether he knows it or not, is picking up a book with the following request in mind: Make me care.”

“Fiction runs on friction and trouble.”

“Decide whether we need to see the full action of every instant in your book. ...Focus on your most powerful scenes.”

“You are a writer, not a security camera...Shape events and cherry-pick the ones that are going to be the most exciting and most significant for your story.”

Links:
Plot Structure :: Ingrid's Notes (This is an incredible series on classic plot and arch plot, alternative plots and alternative structures)
Plotting :: Janice Hardy's Fiction University (Another comprehensive list of posts on plot)

What tips, quotes, or techniques have helped you when working on plot?

9 comments:

  1. Great reminders as I head into revisions!

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  2. I am in the thick of revision, and all of these are helpful. (And I agree: Ingrid Sundberg's series on plots was a masterclass! I also LOVE everything by Janice Hardy.)

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  3. What a treasure trove! Bookmarking this post for sure.

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  4. I love this, Caroline!! I am forever making graphs and timelines and checking for clues... and making sure they're both in the right place and actually there! This is a great, organized SANE way of creating checkpoints and helping to prevent getting lost in one's own book. Thanks!

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    1. Yes to getting lost in one's own book. :)

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  5. Oooh, very inspiring. This one in particular: “The difference between starting with premise and starting with character is usually that in a premise plot, the character has something done to him or her from the outside; and in a character plot, the character is the one who causes the action, thanks to the Desire.”

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Thanks for adding to the mayhem!