Plot Party Transcript #1 – Plot

Here’s the final part to our Plot Party Chat, Plot! Thanks for reading!

MattKinsi|Plot: In general, two types of plots. Character-Driven and Story-Driven. Know which one its yours. And get in that mindset. If character centric plot, what’s going to happen to the character to cause him/her to grow? Get those events down, even if it’s a brief five point outline. If event centric, you need to do more about the events. Get an outline going and plot it out well.
MattKinsi|Plot: So, who is writing character-driven and who is writing story-driven?

MattKinsi|Plot: story-driven here!
Hype|Character: event-driven!
soteriologies: event driven!
sushi|mod: story-driven!
MaatRising: one of each
zuzu1050: I think both…
quix: character-driven!
Ben_Madison: No clue.
Darknessmatinee: Potentially both

MattKinsi|Plot: So in doing some research this week, I came across this Tameri Guide for Writers on Plot and Story and loved it. Let’s talk about it! So, in general, here are the broad parts to a plot. Prologue – Backdrop. Beginning – Challenge/Catalyst, Conflict/Simple Plot, Big Event. Middle – Revelation/Pinch, Crisis, Climax. End – Resolution. Epilogue – Dawn.

MattKinsi|Plot: Let’s talk a little about each of these.
MattKinsi|Plot: Prologue gives you the basic backdrop. Helps establish the setting of the novel. It doesn’t have to be a whole separate prologue, could just be a paragraph or two. Or your character reflecting on something. This year in my main nano, it’s going to be shown through a birthday party for the MC’s son. The catalyst is your initial incident. What actually sets your story in motion? What is that first thing that causes life to never be the same? What’s the initial incident in your nano?

MattKinsi|Plot: In mine, the initial incident is the MC leading a church retreat to raise money for the war and blowing everyone away with how great it went
zuzu1050: a group of friends finds out one has cancer
sushi|mod: my character becomes an adult and has to continue the family business
Hype|Character: Teenager falls into a massive sinkhole and is caught by a dragon
quix: loki: the death of his best friend at the hands of the governmetn
tiakall|Setting: Young girl gets haunted by two weird guys.
judyblackcloud: [??-?]? zombies
MaatRising: A librarian finds an ancient scroll in a dusty storeroom of a college library.
NaNolantaPanda: she comes back to work and there’s … well … a body in the lobby.
Darknessmatinee: Cataclysm! >.>

MattKinsi|Plot: all right! so, moving on – warning, big block o text a’comin’
MattKinsi|Plot: The Conflict/Simple Plot – is it man vs. man? Man vs. society? Man vs. himself? This is where the first good development happens. Big Event is the final part of the intro. Things get escalated. It relates back to the initial incident. There’s no going back after the big event. In my nano this year, it’s when the MC gets promoted to be Minister of Trade.

The pinch is when the MC decided to move forward despite the big event. There are a few different possibilities where your MC could go – which one will the MC take? Be the good, normal, boring person, or will you destroy his soul? The final part of the middle is the crisis/showdown. Everything’s come to a head. Will your character have a crisis of faith? Will the MC reach the goal they decided on in the pinch? This is the climax of the novel. What’s the climax of your novel going to be?

MattKinsi|Plot: The climax of my nano – the MC writes up an annon report on his trade mission, saying you know, these other religious areas are just as ok as we are. And he gets found out.
Hype|Character: I have no idea yet  >_>
loki: assassination of the local governor
NaNolantaPanda: Some kind of chase scene / race against time.
MaatRising: Magical fight scene atop a stone bridge near a evil stone castle…that’s all i got
zuzu1050: no idea over here also..
MattKinsi|Plot: One year I decided on halloween what to even write about

MattKinsi|Plot: We’ll help with that on our field trip. In just a minute. First, back to general plotty outline

MattKinsi|Plot: The beginning of the end is the resolution. So, the crisis and showdown happened. Ut oh, what happens as a result? In my nano, poor guy, gets sent off to brainwashing camp. Sad for him, good for my plot. Then the epilogue/dawn. I like to think of this as what life is like one year later. I’m going to have a chapter just for this to show that, yes, the brainwashing worked. Poor guy.

MattKinsi|Plot: Now, it’s field trip time! Everyone, we’re going to go check out this website. If you are using the website and not a chat client, use a new tab/window! If you click it directly, you will magically disappear from chat. And I don’t want you to magically disappear 😀

MattKinsi|Plot: I want you to head this site – a page on the wonderfully time sucking TV Tropes. I want everyone to skim down the list of plots there, pick one at random. And come back in here, tell us what it was (summarizing.)

MattKinsi|Plot: Sudden Intelligence – Dumb/misinformed character suddenly becomes smart. Hijinks ensue. Chracter becomes dumb again.
Darknessmatinee: The Convenient Store Next Door – Robbers planning a heist open up a business near the target to have easier access to said target
zuzu1050: cabin fever.. where people get antsy and need to get out and distrust those around them

sushi|mod: Okay, Matt, continuing?
MattKinsi|Plot: On the top right of that page, there are some awesome general plots as well
MattKinsi|Plot: And if you still have no clue, pop over to the forum on the NaNoWriMo forums page called the Adoption Society:

sushi|mod: Yes! We have two more from character but none from plot
sushi|mod: So first: how important are antagonists?
magius_pendragon: more important than protagonists
Loki: they are the other half of plot!
Hype|Character: I think there must be some type of antagonstic force, but not necessarily an antagonist character
sushi|mod: Yes, exactly, hype
magius_pendragon: Hype|Character: who said anything about antagonist characters? the question was about antagonists
sushi|mod: antagonists are often seen as characters
magius_pendragon: sushi|mod: yes, but not always
Hype|Character: I was just expanding
Hype|Character: Making sure everyone gets that idea
MaatRising: Read somewhere that there’s the rival THEN the villian
Hype|Character: In some stories
magius_pendragon: MaatRising: You have a hero, protagonist, viewpoint character, antagonist, villan, etc. All can be different characters in teh same story
Hype|Character: Many could also be the same
sushi|mod: And many are at times.
magius_pendragon: all of them could be the same

sushi|mod: next up: what are some tips on making your characters interesting and not just boring?
magius_pendragon: according to osc, make them suffer
Hype|Character: That’s one level – don’t be afraid to make them suffer, hurt, or be weak
Lillie_Bell: that’s more of a plot device than a 2D/3D character
Lillie_Bell: i could make mary sue suffer but she’s still mary sue
sushi|mod: I think this is more about making them well-rounded
Loki: characters that cant do things that the mc usually has to always make for good reading
magius_pendragon: Lillie_Bell: but she’d be a more interesting mary sue
sushi|mod: Show their quirks throughout the story
Loki: have them develop new ones!
Hype|Character: I think it’s important for them to have realistic flaws as well
sushi|mod: Is their home messy? Do they alphabetize their vegetables?
Hype|Character: It’s also important to keep them consistent
judyblackcloud: flaws! And not just those lame flaws like ‘Oh, I’m too sensitive so I help everyone.’ Gimme an ugly flaw. Give me a character that is scared of homeless people and refuses to help.

sushi|mod: question: How important are subplots?
Hype|Character: Depends on how important you want them to be
Loki: ive seen stories where the main plot gets lost in subplots
sushi|mod: subplots are great, but make sure they work with the main plot
judyblackcloud: ooh, subplots… Tread carefully! It’s so easy to get way too complicated.
MattKinsi|Plot: I think subplots were invented for blocked writers, personally. If you think your current plot is getting stale or, heaven forbit, you’re getting bored writing, toss one in
Hype|Character: It’s a matter of personal preference. You can be like Raymond E Feist and have entire book series spinoffs for subplots, or they could be underlying mentions that work out in the background
MaatRising: I’ve had problems with the opposite where the ENTIRE world revolves around this character and their conflict

sushi|mod: One last question: there’s been a request for a review on what MattKinsi|Plot said earlier on the conflict stuff. Man vs. Man? Man vs. Nature? etc.
MattKinsi|Plot: Thats on the tv tropes site too
magius_pendragon: wait seven?
MaatRising: You are evil for luring me back to that site. Don’t you know it will eat your life? 😀
MattKinsi|Plot: depends on the theorist how many
MattKinsi|Plot: This one has four of them:
MattKinsi|Plot: 1. Man versus man.
MattKinsi|Plot: 2. Man versus nature.
MattKinsi|Plot: 3. Man versus self.
MattKinsi|Plot: 4. Man versus man’s work.
sushi|mod: I can see them being useful if you’re thinking of what your conflict really is at its core
Lillie_Bell: james scott bell has a really good summary in his Plot & Structure book
Lillie_Bell: with very clear examples

MattKinsi|Plot: If no other questions, thanks for coming!

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