Saturday, January 29, 2011

Let's talk about plot

Yesterday I was plotting (well, really re-plotting) the main elements of my WIP. I struggled a bit with coming up with a few reasons why certain things happened. Then it dawned on me that there are two “plots” and two full story arcs for any good story. Many of you may know this and I’m the lone idiot in the writing world, but if not stay with me, this gets good.

1st: WORLD plot

What happens during the story that causes external (but also internal) conflict for your characters? This produces a drama element of the story. Plot-driven stories focus on this element. The plot is so important to the story that it becomes the main character, everything else moving to the shadows. Think HUNGER GAMES, HARRY POTTER, etc.

2nd: EMOTIONAL plot

And I feel this is the golden ticket. These are the character-based books, but I think it goes further than simply the character. The emotional plot does not solely impact your characters; it impacts your readers. It’s gut wrenching, tear jerking, belly laughing to the point that the story literally becomes about the emotional journey your characters take. I believe TWILIGHT is an example of an emotional plot, and that’s why it was so successful.

I read a new release recently that I loved, but ultimately it left me wanting for more. I couldn’t pinpoint the issue. The prose was beautiful; the characters real, but still something…felt off. I now believe that missing element is the emotional journey. And I believe if we can tie our readers to our story emotionally, well, all I can say is watch out world! :)



  1. Me and Plot have a lot of arguments. I want the characters to do one thing, but the Plot requires something totally different. This is why I don't create too much outline or plan before I write a first draft. If I have all the events planned out, I find my writing forcing the characters to get to a certain point at a certain time, without regards to authenticity to the characters.

  2. I have this happen too. I find I HAVE to be a pantster at heart to stay true to my characters. I then shape up the plot, rounding out the arc, during revisions. It's the only way I can get through a draft.

  3. What a great post! I think this is a great way to write, and I think that's why I'm chomping at the bit for more of your WIP! :)