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What’s my Plot?

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Using plots and outlines after you draft your novel. A presentation for NESCBWI14.

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What’s my Plot?

  1. 1. WHAT’S MY PLOT OUTLINING AFTER DRAFTING BY MEGAN FRAZER BLAKEMORE
  2. 2. ABOUT ME
  3. 3. ABOUT YOU WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU WRITE?
  4. 4. THE PLAN  Getting the story down  Elements of Plot  Tools for outlining  Activities and Thought Experiments Interspersed
  5. 5. THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS: MENTOR TEXTS Similar to what you are writing. Well done, especially in terms of plot. Not necessarily your favorite book, but you should like it.
  6. 6. PANTSERS VS. PLOTTERS
  7. 7. ANNE LAMOTT “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts.”
  8. 8. E. LOCKHART “Write it stupid.”
  9. 9. ELLEN RASKIN “It’s just deadly to write an outline.”
  10. 10. STEP 1: GET A DRAFT ON PAPER
  11. 11. STEP 2: GET A HANDLE ON WHAT YOU HAVE
  12. 12. STEP 3: START THINKING ABOUT THE STRUCTURE OF YOUR PLOT “Organizing Pneumonia” by Yale Rosen: https://flic.kr/p/6LCjro
  13. 13. WHAT IS PLOT?
  14. 14. ARISTOTLE Plot is a change of fortune.
  15. 15. PLOT VS. STORY Story  What happens.  “The king died and then the queen died.” Plot  The structure of what happens.  Causality  “The king died, and then the queen died of grief.”
  16. 16. EDITOR CHERYL KLEIN ON PLOT Basic events vs. deep structure
  17. 17. THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: STORY AND PLOT  Think of your mentor text.  What is the story?  What is the plot?
  18. 18. ACTIVITY: STATE YOUR STORY  In your notebook or on your handout, take a moment to write down the STORY of your book.  Remember, this is what happens in the book, boiled down.  Max misbehaves. Max is sent to his room. He travels to an island full of wild animals. They dance and play. He travels home. He eats dinner.
  19. 19. PLOT DIAGRAM (FREYTAG’S PYRAMID)
  20. 20. ELEMENTS OF PLOT  Exposition: Setting the scene  The way things are.  Inciting Incident: The event that changes things.  Rising Action: The story building.
  21. 21. ELEMENTS OF PLOT, CONTINUED  Climax: Where all this action is leading – the moment of greatest tension.  Falling Action: The fall out from the climax.
  22. 22. ELEMENTS OF PLOT, THE END  Resolution: How the main character solves the problem of climax and/or fall out.  Denouement: “Untying”, but perhaps think of it as tying up and looking forward.
  23. 23. PLOT DIAGRAM (FREYTAG’S PYRAMID)
  24. 24. THE GIVER BY LOIS LOWRY What is the story of The Giver?
  25. 25. THE PLOT OF THE GIVER  Exposition:  Inciting Incident:  Rising Action:  Climax:  Falling Action:  Resolution:  Denouement:
  26. 26. THE PLOT OF THE GIVER  Exposition: A future world which values sameness.  Inciting Incident: Jonas chosen to be Receiver (Gabriel at home.)  Rising Action: Jonas learning of history, difference.  Climax: Learns what Release is.  Falling Action: Really doubts this world, plans to leave.  Resolution: Escapes with Gabriel  Denouement: Struggles then sleds to freedom, maybe.
  27. 27. THE GIVER DIAGRAMMED The future world Assigning of jobs. The Giver shows Jonas the truth about “release.” Gabriel to be released. Flees. Travelling to elsewhere. Sled.
  28. 28. STRETCH BREAK & ACTIVITY  Jot down the  Inciting Incident  Climax  Resolution of your story.
  29. 29. CHERYL KLEIN: ACTION PLOT VS. EMOTIONAL PLOT ACTION = External change EMOTIONAL = Internal Change
  30. 30. ACTION PLOT Conflict Lack Mystery
  31. 31. EMOTIONAL PLOT Needs
  32. 32. THOUGHT EXPERIMENT In your mentor text, what is the action plot and what is the emotional plot?
  33. 33. BALANCE
  34. 34. LIAR & SPY BY REBECCA STEAD
  35. 35. ACTION/EMOTIONAL PLOT TIED  Inciting incident: Joining the Spy Club and learning about Mr. X  Rising action: tracking Mr. X. Messages with Mom and lying to Dad.  Climax: Georges figures out the truth about Mr. X, followed immediately by him admitting the truth about his mother.  Falling action: Blu Team nontasters, goes to see Mom  Denouement: Candy starts school (vision of an ok future)
  36. 36. MEANWHILE “The taste is still in my mouth. I know what it is. It’s the taste of pretending. It’s the taste of lying. It’s the taste of a game that’s over.”
  37. 37. TOOLS  Outlines  Note Cards  Calendars  Maps  Charts/Diagrams
  38. 38. OUTLINES - SCRIVENER
  39. 39. OUTLINES – SCRIVENER TO EXCEL
  40. 40. OUTLINES - EXCEL
  41. 41. OUTLINES - EXCEL
  42. 42. OUTLINES – COLOR CODE
  43. 43. OUTLINES - SCRIVENER
  44. 44. OUTLINES – HAND WRITTEN
  45. 45. OUTLINES – HAND WRITTEN
  46. 46. NOTECARDS
  47. 47. NOTECARDS
  48. 48. CALENDARS
  49. 49. GRAPHS
  50. 50. ACTIVITY  On your hand-out, list key scenes and assign a symbol.  Determine which scenes/events are the inciting incident, climax, etc.  Plot your scenes on a graph.  Evaluate your plot.
  51. 51. STEP 3: REVISE Move It Lose It Add It
  52. 52. CASE IN POINT: RISING ACTION IN THE WATER CASTLE  http://libraries.mit.edu/archives/exhibits/van-de-graaff/index1.html
  53. 53. HOMEWORK  Full outline  Once you complete a draft of a WIP, try a full outline and see how that helps you move into revision.
  54. 54. RESOURCES  The Westing Game Manuscript with Ellen Raskin’s commentary at the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (University of Wisconsin): http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/authors/raskin/intro.htm  Editable Calendar from the Peaceful Mom: http://thepeacefulmom.com/monthly-calendar-editable/  Klein, Cheryl B. Second Sight: An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising & Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults. Brooklyn: Asterisk Books, 2012.
  55. 55. THANK YOU! Stay in touch!  Megan Frazer Blakemore  www.meganfrazerblakemore.com  @meganbfrazer on Twitter

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