Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Plot "W"

     Inspired to learn writing tips from great authors, I scanned the internet for brief tutorial videos.  I found a lot of unhelpful things, a few helpful things, and many more things to think about for a little bit (to see whether they are any good or not).
     Writers had different tips for plot structures.  One that I watched a video on was the "W".  The teacher had a W drawn on a large board.  At the beginning of the story (the top left of the W), everything is fine.  Then the conflicts pull the story down, down, down.  There may be multiple bumps in the road, but then the main character hits what they believe to be the lowest point.  This is the first dip in your W.  Fighting their way out of this, the plot begins to look up a little bit.  It makes it to a stable-ish place in the middle peak of the W.  Then everything falls apart and looks worse than it ever looked before.  This is the second dip in your W.  Finally, the end resolution of the book comes and you reach the final peak of your W.
    In my opinion, the W should look like it was drawn by a kindergartner, something like this:
     I like this because there are multiple "bumps in the road" as you follow your story through its ups and down.  I like the fact that my middle peak doesn't quite attain to the height of the first peak, and I like the fact that my final peak is higher than both peaks before it -- your characters should be better or wiser after their adventures.
     Since the teacher with the W said that the second dip of the W was the lowest point of all, I made this diagram reflect that.  I also added the horizontal line at the end to represent that section at the end of the book where you find out what happened to everybody.

     I haven't quite been able to bring myself to write a plot specifically to follow the W, but I was looking over what I had written in the Dungeon this week and realized that, without intending to, I was sort of following the W pattern.  So that was kind of cool.  We'll see how it turns out.

     One more note on the W plot pattern:  Somehow, in my mind, writing is a weaving game with several strands involved.  Characters are woven in and out of the story, as are descriptions, settings, clues, and other things.  So, perhaps the W should look like this:
What do you think?

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