Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A to Z Blogging Challenge: P is for...

For my entries in the 2012 A to Z Challenge, I will be focusing on writing elements that I find important and that I want to incorporate into my work.

Today, the topic is PLOT.

In earlier posts, I wrote about how important characterization was in my writing; about how I wanted to create memorable characters that stick with a reader. I want my characters to seem like real people a reader can identify with, connect to, and become emotionally involved with.

But I also talked back on G-Day about how I'm a Genre writer, and that I want much more than just memorable characters in my writing.

I want plot – The sequence of interesting and emotionally gripping events, undercurrents, and backdrop that makes up the whole story.

Without that, even the best characters are wasted. Consider “Hamlet” – what if the story was about the day that the Danish prince decided to go fishing and caught some nice flouder for the royal supper? Or how about if “The Lord of the Rings” detailed the season that Frodo and his hobbit friends helped bring in a particularly bountiful harvest?

Think these revised stories would impact readers the way the originals have?


For a story to work, there have to be interesting events that have significant impact. Events that CHANGE my characters. Maybe they don't need to have life and death stakes or nail-biting suspense, but my stories have to include emotionally-charged events that force my characters to evolve, to grow, and to achieve a deeper understanding of life or themselves -- or to suffer some sort of loss because they refused to.

For what I want in my writing, I think it boils down to a simple equation:

Compelling Characters + Gripping Plot = Successful Story.

That's all it takes.

Thanks for visiting -- see you the rest of this month for more alphabetical fun!

Don't forget to visit HERE to see all the bloggers taking part in this A-to-Z challenge, and try to drop in on as many of them as you can!


Nancy Thompson said...

Loved the way you changed the plots of those great stories. Really shows how important plot is to the story. Of course, those revisions would work for character-driven literary fiction. Blech! That's why I read & write genre! Great post! & thanks for dropping by!

Gina said...

After all the racket with the Harry Potter movies, last summer I finally read the first book. What I found was one of those strange cases where the characters are so strong and likable, so all fleshed, that a weaker plot doesn't bring them down. These examples are far too unusual and require of extremely well written characters. Since I don't know if mine are that appealing (probably not) I have to work hard on an eventful plot that will pull my readers in.

Great post. I'm really liking your series. You're on a roll!

From Diary of a Writer in Progress

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Oh, is THAT all it takes? Piece of cake, huh? (I'm thinking I might have a better shot at publication if I change my name to something like Monica Lewinski ...)Seriously, great post, as always.

.jessica. said...

"That's all it takes" is officially my new favorite thing. :) Okay, seriously though, we get ourselves all tied up in knots about our writing, but you know what? Put some interesting people in a unique situation and tell us what happens. More often than not, I'd be interested to read it!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Great post! I agree!

Nicole said...

I tend to be a character person myself, but I do love a good twisty plot!

Kate O'Mara said...

As a reader, Compelling Characters + Gripping Plot = Wish it happened more often
As a writer, wish it happened more often
Follow & A to Z

Chris Fries said...

@Nancy: Thanks for the visit and the comment! Plot is critical to a good story, even when it's character-driven, I think. The whole debate is like, "do you want heads or tails?" Both! Just give me the whole coin, lol!

@Gina: thank you very much! And you know, I've never read any Harry Potter books (Gasp!) I do have the first one in my to-read list, but I never seem to get to it...

@Susan: Yep -- piece of cake. Provided you build the cake with tweezers, crumb by painstaking crumb... ;^)

@jessica: I agree. And that's all it takes! ;^)

@Tyrean: Thank you!

@Nicole: I want both, lol!

@Kate: LOL! I hear ya! Thank you very much for the visit and comment!