Thanks to the sidebar on Jody Hedlund's blog, I've started reading Plot & Structure, by James Scott Bell. In simple terms, Bell sums up plot by using the LOCK system:
L = Lead
"...a strong plot starts with an interesting Lead character. In the best plots, that Lead is compelling, someone we have to watch throughout the course of the novel."
O = Objective
"Objective is the driving force of fiction. It generates forward motion and keeps the Lead from just sitting around." Bell adds that "...objective can take either of two forms: to get something or to get away from something."
C = Confrontation
"Opposition from characters and outside forces brings your story fully to life." Bell quotes another writer who once said, "Get your protagonist up a tree. Throw rocks at him. Then get him down."
K = Knockout
In his book, Bell compares a strong ending to a knockout punch in a boxing match. His suggestion? "...take your Lead through the journey toward her objective, and then send the opposition to the mat."
I can relate to this easy-to-follow language. How about you? What techniques do you use when plotting fiction?
Loved this book! This author is the one who turned me own to The Nifty 350 and scene cards.ReplyDelete
I'd like to say I have a system, but I don't. Maybe one day I will. For now, each first draft is unique in its creation.
Yeah - that's so straightforward it makes me wonder why it makes my head hurt so much when I try to apply it to my own WIP :)ReplyDelete
I should get my hands on that book...
J. Kaye, I haven't heard of the Nifty 350. I'll be on the lookout for it!ReplyDelete
Nomes, the concept is simple, now to just plug in all the awesome stuff!
I love this! And yeah...the book is fab too.ReplyDelete
Christine, I loved it too. Simple for my thick head to absorb!ReplyDelete
I really liked that book too! Simple works for me.ReplyDelete
Dwight Swain's book on the other hand, I'm still trying to decipher. LOL
I like that summary, too. It is concise, intuitive, and the mnemonic helps store it in a retrievable mental file.ReplyDelete
Plot is my bane. I don't know why that is.
Julie - I have this one on my night table too, but I haven't looked at it in a while. Easy to read and understand. Thanks for the reminder!ReplyDelete
Great stuff. :) *hearts simple and easy to remember* I don't plot the normal way. I let ideas simmer in my subconscious so that they're ready for me when I want to write. I do keep in mind a simple goal for each chapter as well as the MCs goal for the book. This helps me stay on track. :DReplyDelete
LOCK...easy enough to remember. I would say it's what I'm ATTEMPTING to do, just don't think I'm there yet.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the cheat-sheet!
I haven't read this one--I'll have to look for it. I like simplistic thinking--the worst writing books are when the author tries too hard to sound like they are 'all knowledgable'.ReplyDelete
Yes! I have this book, too. It's easy to easy to understand and has great practical advice.ReplyDelete
BTW - I love your blog design!
Thanks guys for stopping by. It's fun to hear about what other writers are reading, and I like knowing what techniques work and which ones don't.ReplyDelete
Guess I need to pick up a book! Thanks for sharing some snippets!!!ReplyDelete
Hey Jen, well, I figured there's great advice out there, I might as well absorb some of it! Thanks for stopping by.ReplyDelete
Great acronym! And I love "Get your protagonist up a tree. Throw rocks at him. Then get him down."ReplyDelete
I need to throw more rocks at my MC. But it's hard for me to hurt her, you know?
Suzanne, I know! We love our mc's and sometimes it's hard to treat them rotten.ReplyDelete
I don't write fiction, but I'm starting to think about it. Janet Reid gave me a compliment the other day. Only a 100 words, so I'm not getting too excited, but it's made me think about what I'm writing.ReplyDelete
"Get your protagonist up a tree. Throw rocks at him. Then get him down." I like this! It's a bit hard to climb the tree and throw rocks at myself.
I like the idea of LOCK too. I haven't heard of this book before. Will have to check it out!ReplyDelete
Simon, you SHOULD write fiction! With the work that you do and the things you experience, wow, it would be great.ReplyDelete
Jenn, I had never heard of it before, but I like the simplicity of LOCK.
I like the sound of the LOCK system. Sounds like I should check this book out.ReplyDelete
I like that. LOCK is easy to remember and it covers the essentials.ReplyDelete
Heather, so far I'm loving this book. It's not showy, it just packs a lot of great information.ReplyDelete
Helen, that's what I thought. Not too many letters to remember, because heck, I can barely remember four!
It sounds like such a great book -- I'll have to check it out. LOCK is definitely easy to remember. :)ReplyDelete
Starting with a rough outline helps me plot, and as I go along, the outline gets further developed and changed, evolving as I go!ReplyDelete
Sandy, that's what I thought. And good luck to you on your writing goals this summer.ReplyDelete
Joanne, I like your rough outline idea. I still haven't found the golden ticket yet, but I like hearing all these ideas.
Love this advice, all in a nutshell! I pretty much use the same technique, although I write for children. I still have to have a strong lead character that young readers can identify with, along with confrontation or a problem that they the main character must solve.ReplyDelete
Olive, I'm loving this nutshell! Yes, with kids or adults, the plot points seem similar.ReplyDelete
Jennifer, thanks for stopping by!
I like LOCK. It's easier to remember than "inciting incident" and so on.ReplyDelete
Theresa, me too. Easy to remember!ReplyDelete
I'm not so organized as that! I think alot of what ifs and go from there:)ReplyDelete
Terri, the what ifs seem like a classic place to start!ReplyDelete
Julie, you won a book on my blog today. E-mail me the address you'd want it sent to.ReplyDelete
jennifer (AT) jennifershirk (DOT) com
Your posts have been helping me so much! I am just starting to write my very first and oh, I have needed these tips. Today's post is making me go back and check a LOT of areas.
Thank Goodness for your blog:)
Jennifer, how exciting! I'm looking forward to reading Pucker!ReplyDelete
Alexis, I'm hoping LOCK helps you as much as it helped me.
This is great advice and I'm so glad to have read it today!ReplyDelete
With my first book, the direction of my lead character (and POV) were difficult b/c my main characters are fraternal twins with a bit more emphasis on the girl twin. Thanks to my beta's honest feedback, though, I was able to find a clear voice for my story. Great post, Julie! Thanks for sharing.
Tory, it's my pleasure!ReplyDelete
I have a little something for you on my blog! Have a nice day:)ReplyDelete
Alexandra, thanks! I'll go check it out now.ReplyDelete
I have this book and it is great. Great post. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting.ReplyDelete
Catherine, I'm so glad I've been reading this book. Thanks for stopping by.ReplyDelete
Hi Julie! I'm so glad I found your blog. :) This is a great post. One of my biggest struggles is plot. This sounds like a great book.ReplyDelete
LOCK is definitely easy to remember. I don't have a system, but I usually discover the character first then dig for his story. Great post. Sounds like a great book. :)ReplyDelete
A.L., I've struggled with plot too. I want to get it just right in the beginning, but don't always succeed.ReplyDelete
Janet, I thought LOCK was nice and easy too. I'm loving this book.
I absolutely love this acronym.ReplyDelete
I outline before I start to write, and with that I can tweak the plot to make it stronger.
So wonderful! What a really good way to look at plot. So simple but effective.ReplyDelete
Medeia, it's nice to know how you put your stories together. It's obviously a winning strategy.ReplyDelete
Carolina, that's what I like about it: simplicity.
what a wonderful idea :)
Margg, nice and easy, right?ReplyDelete
Absolutely a great read!! BTW -- terrific blog.ReplyDelete
B Jas, thank you!ReplyDelete
Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)
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