Quote of the Day

more Quotes

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

PLOTTING: Deconstructing One Movie and One Novel to Show the Various Plotlines

This is probably one of the key elements to make your story richer and fuller and more lifelike: having multiple plotlines. Otherwise the tale will feel "thin." And it may very well be. It needs more oomph. So add another thread, another story line.

SPOILER ALERT! Don't read the numbered items below if you haven't yet seen the chosen movie or read the selected book herein and wish to do so without all the surprises being revealed first.

Here are two examples to show you about adding layers of engagement to your own fiction:

To start with, let's look at the film National Treasure with Nicolas Cage, playing the lead character of Benjamin Franklin Gates, working from his innermost conflicts to the outermost.

  1. INTERNAL: His all-consuming desire is to find, to see, to touch the greatest treasure of all, what the Knights Templar and the Freemasons hid from the British for centuries, not to cash in on the billions this represents but to clear his family's name and to fulfill what he believes to be his purpose on earth. He has searched for decades, so his persistence has not waned.
  2. FAMILIAL: His father and he have opposing viewpoints. Whereas Ben continues with this quest, his father gave up years ago and so is disappointed in Ben. Just like Ben's grandfather was disappointed in Ben's father when he gave up on the generations-old search. Ben says at one point in the movie, paraphrased, "Maybe the true Gates family legacy is sons disappointing fathers."
  3. WORKWISE: Financier and crook Ian has tried to kill Ben a couple times, and Ian now knows enough to focus his intent on stealing the Declaration of Independence for his selfish greed only. While Ben's interest in finding the treasure is pure (being a "treasure protector"), Ian's is not, and he could easily destroy this priceless document along the way to finding the riches he lusts for.
  4. SOCIAL/UNIVERSAL: Overriding all the previous plotlines are the ethereal values, including justice, doing the right thing to correct wrongs in this world, saving evidences of our heritage, sharing history with the world. 

For my ebook selection, I've only started reading a cute paranormal romance entitled How (Not) to Kiss a Prince (Cindy Eller series, book number two), by Elizabeth Reeves (my first ever of her novels), but I already see the four main conflicts, and I'm only on page 78 of 294, which is good. You should set up your story early so the reader can get the full import by presenting these four "perils" as soon as possible. Here they are:

  1. INTERNAL: Cindy, our main character, is stressed about her waning magical powers and not knowing who her father was and why no one will tell her anything about him, even when she asks.
  2. FAMILIAL: Cindy meets her betrothed, while with her boyfriend, which is quite the surprise, and then finds out about her mother's bargain made even before Cindy was born.
  3. WORKWISE: Cindy is overworked and understaffed at her bakery. She has her sister's wedding in the next two weeks, and she wants it to be special for her, so additional stressors are here, complete with a deadline.
  4. SOCIAL/UNIVERSAL: Seems Cindy's mother's bargain may have something to do with possibly uniting the fae and magic worlds, maybe even the human one too.

Hope this short post helps you with your own plotting and brainstorming. Also see my newest book, BUILD-A-BOOK Storytelling Checklist: Front-End Planning to Reduce Back-End Rewriting, for more details and tips. Number 9 (of 109 total) deals with the above-mentioned plotlines. Click here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01803G1QA?keywords=denise%20barker&qid=1451396236&ref_=sr_1_2&sr=8-2.

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
The best inheritance you can leave your kids is an example of how to live a full and meaningful life. Dan Zadra

No comments:

Post a Comment