Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Plot Thickens ... Or Not

"In nearly all good fiction, the basic - all but inescapable - plot form is this: A central character wants something, goes after it despite opposition (perhaps including his own doubts), and so arrives at a win, lose, or draw." – John Gardner
I’m starting a new writing routine today (Tuesday). I’m going to begin each session composing my blog post of the following day. Why tomorrow’s post? I like the entry to appear early, but I don’t want to have to get up to put it online. Hey, I’m retired. I can get up when I want to.

Today’s quote is straight-forward as far as the plot form goes -- until the end. “… arrives at a win, lose, or draw.” The other advice I’ve read on this topic all stated the character should change, that there be some kind of character arc. Mr. Gardner suggests otherwise. I suppose this could work for a scene or a chapter. How about a short story? I can see the main character being unchanged by events at the end of a chapter, but lacking a win or loss, should the reader be left with the impression that the character has a flicker of doubt? Why would I want to continue reading if I felt nothing about a character was going to change, that nothing that happened would make a difference in the person’s life? I need to think about this some more.

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