Monday, May 13, 2013

Plot (2)



As discussed last week,  plot is the structure of the story.  It is what happens during the course of the story and in the order those happenings take place. It is cause and effect.  And without a plot, there is no novel or short story, merely a bunch of words on a page. There two schools of thought with regard to the importance of plot versus characters in today’s fiction.  While action stories, thrillers and most crime mainly focus on plot, contemporary women’s fiction and sagas are traditionally more character-led.  But the best of today’s fiction has a great plot and equally great characters, plus all the other components that make up the best of today's fiction.
Plot requires three elements to create a quality fiction story: theme, questions, and conflict.
(i) Theme: The theme of your fiction story or novel is the message it imparts.  The theme of a story makes a statement about society or behaviors. It can be anything from "good guys always win" to "it pays to lie and cheat" or “embracing change”.  Whether theme is overt or hidden is up to the writer.
(ii) Questions: In the course of a story, if the author can whet the readers’ appetites as to what will happen next, or how the characters will solve a particular dilemma, they will be intrigued and continue reading. A tip to catch the reader's attention is to pose an early question, and, ideally these questions should continue throughout the story until they are answered at the end.
(iii) Conflict: Conflict, defined simply, is the problems or obstacles that arise within your story's plot. If there is no conflict, there will be no interest. When a conflict occurs, it gives the characters something to do, to overcome, and to grow from. Conflict creates growth, and without growth, your fiction story will be flat and uninteresting.
These three plot elements are necessary for writing a good fiction story or novel. The best plots are well paced, with some scenes fast and furious and full of drama; others slow and meandering, perhaps the scenes of internal dialoguing. Creating an interesting plot, or story line, is essential to attracting and engaging readers. This can only be accomplished by formulating a theme, questions for the reader to ask, and conflict. Writing a fiction story without these plot elements is rather like painting a picture without color, shape, or meaning. 
Good Plotting.....

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Price of Desire

The Price of Desire is the title of producer Mary McGuckian's film about
Eileen Gray's relationship with Le Corbusier, details of which
Le Corbusier murals
One of Le Corbusier's murals
 
will be announced at Cannes Film Festival later this month.

Gray was the toast of Europe for her innovative designs and completion of E.1027, regarded today as the first modern house. Le Corbusier was the most talked about architect of the era. They locked creative horns over what she saw as his despoilment of the pristine of the walls of villa by his eight sexually explicit murals.

In these straightened times funding can be a problem, one which McGuckian has overcome by using Kickstarter crowd-funding to ensure the restoration of the villa, where several scenes will be shot. For those with movie-star aspirations, a pledge of $5,000 will get you the role of telegram boy or girl bringing to Gray the news of the ill health of her lover Jean Badovici (to whom she gifted E.1027)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Plotting Fiction (1)

This week I've been in deep and meaningful conversation with UCD's department of Adult Education about writing courses for 2013/14. As always we're upgrading to meet the requirements of participants. The courses on offer from me are: (i) Autumn Term 2013. 10 Modules Writing Fiction (1) - emphasis on Plotting (ii) Spring Term 2014. 8 Modules Writing Fiction (2) - emphasis on creating Character, Era and Locations and Summer Term 2014. 4 Modules Self-Editing Fiction - self explanatory, I believe! 

This week and for the next few week, we'll look at Plots and Plotting. Plot can cause a writer worry. What is it? How do I work it out? How do I know how to go about it? are questions frequently asked. 

Quite simply plot is the telling of your story. Take it a stage further to structure which equally simply is how you go about constructing your story. Contemporary fiction is primarily described as being 'plot-led' which means the stronger the plot the more attractive the fiction is from a publishing point of view. 

Plot begins when a problem occurs that requires reaction from one of your characters. Plot thrives on structure and pace - it is said that pace is to fiction what buses are to commuters – regular arrival, neither too many nor too few and should forward the storyline at a relevant pace for the story.

Plot can be divided into five parts: exposition (of the situation); rising action (through conflict); climax (or turning point); falling action; and resolution.