Plot? We Don’t Need No Stinking Plot…Or Do We? (Run Up to NaNoWriMo)

Aiseirigh is the Name of the Ship. One of its various meanings is Awakening.

According to the Iron Oak community, it is also “a dramatic and surrealistic portrayal of death and reincarnation. It is a statement that the cycle of life includes death and from death there is again life.

Dramatic? Cycle of life? Going from static space to dynamic space and on to static space?

Where’ve I heard that stuff before?

Oh right…plot, conflict, dramatic action. Those are yet more items that need to be included in our writer’s tool boxes as we continue to move day by day…step by step…slowly we turn whoops…shifted into Three Stooges mode for a second there.

Did someone say “Niagra Falls!!!”???? Okay…maybe not.

But anyhow…plot and conflict are two things that keep the novel hopping, the characters moving, the writer writing. Oftentimes we want to know how the story turns out as much as the future reader. It’s fascinating to watch the story unfold as to how the protagonist gets herself out of that sketchy situation the antagonist cunningly manipulated her into only to watch her turn the tables on the antagonist in a manner befitting some of the best ingénues to ever walk across that stage known as the Mind’s Eye.

If it weren’t for plot and conflict points (a.k.a. complications, more complications, and “oh my god…did you see what he just did?”) such as the Comte de Rochefort’s laughter and snark, d’Artagnan would just be riding that old yellow horse to Paris…and he’d never have gotten into that one sided fight with the good comte, which in turn caused him to lose the very letter that would gain him immediate entry into the Musketeers. Hell if it weren’t for the comte, d’Artagnan would never have run into Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, thereby guaranteeing three different duels for one afternoon…

And so the story goes…on and on…with regular plot points, conflict, and bits of dramatic action that make life very very interesting for the young man from Gascony.

If it weren’t for the plot points, you’d have a young man and his horse…meandering along…doing a whole lotta nothing instead of this.

And if it weren’t for the various and sundry plot points, complications, and bits of character movement in search of their particular desires, Mr. Smith would never have made it to the Senate where he stood and talked and talked and talked and talked and talked until the Kid Army piled in with their bags and bags of letters in support of Jefferson Smith and his goals thereby causing the Graft riddled bad guys to just plain give up in defeat.

Here are a few links that might help you when it comes to plot development and conflict:
Conflict in Fiction
Creating Conflict & Sustaining Suspense
What is Conflict?
The Lester Dent Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot
On Plot
Plot: The Fiction Writer’s Itinerary

Here’s one that I thought covered a whole lot of really helpful stuff:
Elements of a Novel

Previous diaries are here:

11 more days til the start of NaNoWriMo

X-Posted over yonder.


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    • kredwyn on October 21, 2007 at 5:27 am

    Writing is easy:  All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.  ~Gene Fowler

    • RiaD on October 21, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    I have a vague idea where I want my story to go…I have a shadowey outline…but I’m picking it up again/reworking it after about 15 yrs of letting it sit in a drawer…some days I feel I’ve lost my mind!

    And how to you go from a grand, large idea to the little bites that get you there?

    Thanks for these links kredwyn…I’m not gonna be doing NaNoWriMo…but I am writing again (thanks everyone here, specially buhdy for having this Great site!)…and I’m kinda afraid to go look at how I should do…in fear it’ll fugg up what I am doing…maybe this is too…wierd?…but I’ve hotlisted this essay for future reference.

  1. Not in modern “literary” fiction.  Plots are for hack “genre” pieces like “romance” novels and “detective” stories.

    Character development?  Pfui.  Your characters should never change because in real life they never do.

    I suggest instead of reading you watch TV.

    • nocatz on October 21, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    Hypothetically, say you’ve asked a few friends to read along as you write, and one (and only one) of them says of a character:

      “She wouldn’t say that.  I just think she wouldn’t.”

    Is the appropriate response:

      “Fuck you, we’re only twenty-five pages in. How the fuck do you know what she’d say? Go write your own fucking novel”?

    Or do you just say, “Hmmmm, that’s interesting. I’ll have to think about that”?
    But never change it.

    Or seriously think about changing it?

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