Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Plot Elements

As I've been trying to piece together my plot I've been reflecting on common elements from other books I like. Here are a few I came up with.

- Journeys - Travel provides a change of scenery and often a change in situation.

- Talismans - Inanimate objects that carry so much meaning/importance they almost become like another character.

- Injury - Physical pain is something that everyone can relate to which makes it a good way to create sympathy in the reader

- Loss of Parent(s) - Think every single Disney story. An orphan makes an easy protagonist.

Those are some I've been thinking about today. What are some of your favorite plot elements, either to read or to write, to keep things interesting and create emotional investment?

Vocabulary Word of the Day:
TURGID - adj. - Excessively ornate or complex in style or language; Swollen or distended


SzélsőFa said...

- A quest, when something has to be accomplished
- time travels
- wise people
- a story that involves a family and/or people that are somehow related

How about these?

Anonymous said...

All of the traditional plot elements make me shudder. I know they're unavoidable, but I'm always desperate to put some "unique" spin on them (if there is such a thing). I like to start with the central conflict. What is problem, how will it grow, and how will it resolve.

SzélsőFa said...

I don't think its the 'what', it's the 'how'.
Some elements do draw me into reading a story. But if it is poorly written, chances are I will abandon it.

strugglingwriter said...

Time Travel. I'm a sucker for a good time travel story every time.

Aine said...

Though it's not so much a plot element, the most important thing for me is relatable, warm characters that interact in a real way (unique is even better, but it must be believable).

And, I agree with with szelsofa and strugglingwriter, I love good time travel stories (the emphasis on good). I also love unusual twists (who doesn't?).

Hoodie said...

Szelsofa - The book I'm working on contains all of those, except time travel, so perhaps I'm onto something.

Jason - I think you're absolutely right. With my conflict in its infancy stage, however, there are still many characteristics I can shape it with. I think certain elements are unavoidable, but the possibilities for them are endless.

Struggling - I love time travel too. Far and away the best time travel book I've ever read is The Time Travelers Wife. LOVE IT.

Aine - Welcome. Considering that the story I'm writing is a character story, I'm trying really hard to strongly define my protagonist. I find myself watching people constantly to see what personality elements I want him to have. I agree with you. Character stories are always my favorite.

Church Lady said...

Great post.

I like it when characters need each other in a story.

And red herrings. Is that what they're called? The clues you leave along the way that are decipherable only at the end of the story.

SzélsőFa said...

Red herrings, yes I've heard that expression.
I love them too, but only if they are NOT screaming out loud, but are a bit subtle.

SzélsőFa said...

Dear Hoodie, come and see who's won the Take a closer look #7;)
#8 has just begun today.

Hoodie said...

Church Lady - That is one thing I'm really hoping to achieve in the book I'm preparing to write. It's about a very shy boy who ends up with a huge task, but he won't be able to accomplish it alone. I'm really hoping his relationships will be believable.

Szelsofa - Thanks! I feel so special.

And Aine - an extra special welcome now that I realize who you are. :)

Aine said...

Thanks, Hoodie! :)
Sorry that I've lurked for so long. I've been enjoying your blog(s) for quite awhile!

Beth said...

Plot elements. God, I'm not that structured. These questions are hard for me. Like pulling teeth. I don't love or write one single thing. Every element I love is because of the story as a whole.

I just like a good story with strong characters. The kind of characters you feel are your friends by the end of the story. (David Copperfield by Dickens does this just right)

Hoodie said...

Beth - I think the key for many writers who may not have the raw talent to get it right first time around is to write something that doesn't appear as structured as it is. No one wants to read something that sounds labored, even it is.

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

I never plot my plot elements, they just "turn up" - that's how I write - but I find there are recurring themes - self discovery
- wisdom of a key character
- good vs evil
- personal growth
- journeys