This month on Aussie Owned we are talking great stories and what the elements are that make it great. Firstly we will be talking PLOT.
Plot is the driving force of your story.
So what is plot? Plot is more than story, it is the large scale events that both move your story forwards and change your character from who they were in the beginning. It is essential that the characters are driving the plot, not the plot moving along on its own or without any connection to the characters key to the story.
After the brief introduction, there will be an inciting incident, a climax, and a resolution.
The inciting incident should happen as close to the beginning as possible. Too soon, and we won’t care about the character so the inciting incident won’t have impact. Too late, and you run the chance of leaving the reader bored.
A great example of this is Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy. Within the first chapter we learn that the two main characters are mentally linked, one is a princess, and the other is her ‘body guard’. Oh, and they’re on the run. Their close bond draws the reader in and makes you care about them by association. After this brief set up, the inciting incident is when they are found by the people they’ve been running from and are dragged back to the academy.
The climax is the turning point in the story. It is the moment that the character decides to do something about the incidents facing them. After this point the main character will never be the same.
A great example of this is Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight. Bella decides to go after James because he claims to have her mother. She doesn’t tell Edward or the other Cullens of her decision. This confrontation in the story is a well-timed climax. Far enough into the story to have led to it with other driving incidents, but close enough to the end to give the protagonist time to develop the resolution.
The resolution is simply what happened at the very end. It is where you show how the character you started with those many pages ago, has changed due to the incidents and climax they have experienced.
A great example of this is J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. As a whole the series has a perfect resolution. All three characters are pivotal to the story and each have their own resolutions, but the story ends with them together. Reflecting on how they have grown and changed from the meek, nervous and shy eleven year olds to the badass near-adults of the final pages.
The resolution of the story and not just the change of the character is important too. In Harry Potter, there is a very clear line between good versus evil and this resolution was made clear when Harry chooses to use Expelliarmus instead of one of the Unforgivable Curses.
For more in depth education on the importance of plot in a story, you can check out this cool PIXAR tutorial – https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/pixar/storytelling