Plotting By Personality - Work With Your Natural Instincts
What's the best way to plot?
Quick answer: the best way to plot is whatever works best for you. After all, we're all different. Interview any group of a dozen writers and you'll find they all have different times of the day when they're alert; different belief systems about the world; different preferences in food and films. So why on earth would we all agree on the best way to plot a story?
To find out the best way of plotting for you, first (a) think about your usual approach to problems then (b) try a few different methods. It's not certain that the 'best' way for you will dovetail with your personality type, but it's likely. If we work on the four basic 'types', we find that people tend to gravitate to being:
If you tend more towards being introverted, intuitive, feeling and perceiving, then you are likely to prefer a more flexible form of plotting. You would probably feel comfortable with cluster diagrams, branching, and scribbled notes with lots of arrows and extra little boxes.
You can use these for the basic plot, for characters, and for settings. Draw a circle in the middle of the page. Write the name of the story in this circle. (Any working title will do.) Around it draw more circles- as many as you need for things such as the catalyst for change, the character's initial problem or goal, obstacles to be faced, final challenge for the main character, darkest moment, secondary characters, ending.
There's no point in my prescribing how many circles you need- after all, this is your plot. You're the intuitive, feeling type - you don't want me to say 'you have to put this here and that over there'. Watch your plot grow in front of your eyes.
Branching is very similar to the cluster diagram. You begin with the story, then draw 'branches' (lines) out from the box in the centre. These branches will represent the main thrust of your story: the same basic 'ingredients' as used above in the cluster diagram: characters, problems, obstacles, and so on. Off each of these main branches you draw smaller lines or branches - and along those lines write the specific problems encountered, the various characters in the story, and so on.
Both cluster diagrams and branching will let you see the shape of your story in a pictorial way. Many writers find they can get a much better overall sense of where their story is going when they can see it all as a diagram, rather than as a list of points.
Perhaps you feel much more at home in a structured environment. You are extraverted, and tend to think about things and make judgements. In this case, you could feel much happier with a detailed plot outline, with each step carefully planned. You may need to 'write out' the plot so you feel you know where you're going.
The Gary Provost Plot Checklist
There are many basic plots you can use, but one of the best I've seen is the one advocated by the late Gary Provost. His plot outline, in the form of a checklist, is as follows:
(c) Copyright Marg McAlister
Marg McAlister has published magazine articles, short stories, books for children, ezines, promotional material, sales letters and web content. She has written 5 distance education courses on writing, and her online help for writers is popular all over the world. Sign up for her regular writers' tipsheet at http://www.writing4success.com/.
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Do you love someone very deeply? A spouse, son, daughter,or maybe a group of people. February 14 is Valentine‚??s Day.This unofficial holiday is a day card companies started toincrease their business and has evolved into more over theyears. It is a day of reflection, a day to show someoneelse you care, a day to see the love we have for ourselvesas well.
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Writers are often are greatly surprised or disappointed by how their work is changed when it is adapted for the big screen. When Irwin Shaw's World War II novel The Young Lions was shot in Paris in 1958, the Nazi character was played by Marlon Brando. Ever the method actor, Brando provoked an uproar by strutting around town in his SS uniform, even going into restaurants to dine. The thirty three year old star was unsure if the Parisians ripping his clothes were doing it out of adulation or disdain. Like most actors Brando wanted to be loved and he took his concern to Shaw that the Nazi be made sympathetic. "You just don't understand the character", Brando told the amazed writer. "It's my character," replied Shaw. "Not anymore", replied the actor.
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