Thursday, July 8, 2010

Breaking it down…

Today's guest blogger is Heather Burch, an author of young adult fiction that blends the natural realm with the supernatural. She loves putting extraordinary fictional teens into impossible situations. She's here to talk about making plotting manageable.

Go for it, Heather:

When I first started writing, the idea of constructing an entire plot terrified me. Here’s a new look at an old perspective on how to build a plot. I first found this information in a book called Screenplay by Sid Field. (It’s just as helpful for book writing.)

Think of your plot as a line with three section. The middle section is twice as long as the others.

[ Setup / Middle (bumpy road) /Conclusion]

Setup=1/4 middle =1/2 conclusion=1/4

Section one: The setup (First ¼ of book)

Begin with a great hook, then put us in your character’s world. Let us ride that wave until…

BAM! You have a plot point. ( the /’s on the graph represent them) A plot point is a moment that changes everything! It spins the plot in a new direction.

For instance, in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Belle’s life is pretty much the same until BAM! She goes to find her father and offers to take his place as Beast’s prisoner. See, now her whole world has changed.

Section Two: The bumpy road (Next two ¼’s of the book)

This section will be twice as long as your setup and your conclusion. It’s filled with ups and downs in the story.

Beast is kind and gives her a room rather than a prison cell. (Up)

When she refuses to have dinner with him, he locks her door and yells at her. (Down)

He tries to become a gentleman by actually using eating utensils. (Up)

When she pokes around the enchanted wing, he blows up and yells at her. (Down)

Beast gives her the library as a gift. (Huge, huge, huge up!!! )

See? All of section two is filled with ups and downs, but our characters are becoming closer and closer along the way. We can actually see them happily together…Then, BAM! Another plot point.

Beast releases Belle because he loves her.

Section Three: The conclusion (Last ¼ of the book)

Suddenly, Belle’s world has completely changed again. She’s free to return home. In doing so, Gaston realizes she loves Beast and plans to destroy him. All of this leads to our final page where Belle and Beast reunite.

Each section leads to the defining moment, the plot point. Not sure it works? Start watching your favorite movies for their plot points. Start noticing the major plot points in books you love. I bet you’ll see the pattern.

I want to thank Stephanie for letting me guest blog. Be sure to check out for great new reads and author information. My name is Heather Burch and I write about supernatural teenagers. Follow novelteen and you’ll be the first to know about my Halflings…and keep your eyes on the sky, they may be watching over you.

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