I do not know what a plot is. I do not know how to write. I am a terrible writer. God help me.
When I am in pain and despair and don’t know what to do about something writing-related, where do I go?
To the Write Practice, of course. I mean, where else would you go? There’s a reason why they have won awards year after year for being the best website on the internet ever.
And like I said earlier, this time, I do not know what a plot is. I mean, I guess i have never known what plot is, since I still do not know what a plot is, but this time, for these particular stories, it’s actually posing problems. For my writing. And productivity.
And I don’t like it.
So I am going to stalk the plot tag on TWP and try to figure out
- What is a plot?
- How do I get it?
- Please help me.
And, as usual, when you have questions, and go onto TWP, you inevitably find answers. Because TWP is awesome. They have my 100% full endorsement. I am their biggest fan. I love them.
One way to think about plot is to think of all its layers. If something has layers, then it should be 3D. Like a cake. Using these ideas together–well, I mean, they are almost the same idea, just thought about in different ways. To think about something in layers is to divide the story into, for example, 3 plots: A, B, and C, with A being the “main plot” like “graduate from high school” or “find the main love interest.” Plot B enhances plot A, either by supporting it, OR by going completely opposite from it, creating even more tension and pain for characters which is GREAT. We LOVE putting our characters through pain. It’s amazing. Plot C can be a comedic relief plot, like a small little thing. For example, the stats teacher is never there, and the substitute teacher never runs class properly, so maybe the main character is bullied by some people. That sounds kind of intense and not comedic relief at all. Maybe in the stats class, the main character tries to flirt with their crush and fails miserably, and the main character reminisces about his friend’s failures. I don’t know. The plot c could be anything. And Plot C often showcases the main character’s …well character the most. Or, is an important lens to show the main character in.
Isn’t that awesome? Isn’t plot awesome?
The 3D plot (well, TWP says 3D conflict but conflict is plot so) looks at having three different conflicts in the story going on at the same time, kind of mirroring the plot layers, I think? I think they are all the same layers. I haven’t actually put this into practice yet; its a really logical smart idea that I need to try next time I write something long.
Which is actually right now (the Selene story and the Navid/Isaura story. I don’t know why I wanted to call it the Navid story this time. Hm.)
The three conflict/plot dimensions are external-world conflict, external-personal conflict, and internal conflict. The external world conflict is the conflicts that arise from the setting, the world. The external-personal conflicts are the conflicts between the characters. And obviously the internal conflict is what is bothering the character inside himself.
If you are starting from scratch, it may be good to think about this from the get-go. The bad news is if you don’t know enough about your world or characters, and need to write that “initial rough draft” to figure things out. Is that a trait of a pantser (this animal I have become), or is that just because I am a bad writer. (Somebody help me tame this animal.)
(Random pop rock influence resurging from my 6th grade self. Scary. Moving on.)
I am going to figure out my Selene story based on these principles. I will let you know how it goes.