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Posts tagged ‘three act structure’

How to tame the beast called plot

In honor of Halloween, I thought I’d write about plot. The word plot used to scare me more than the time I was ten years old and my cousin dragged me to the local haunted house our little town hosted for Halloween.

I screamed my head off (cliches are okay at Halloween when the veil between good and bad prose is thinnest)—monsters lurching out of the dark, re-enactments of beheadings and hangings, cobwebs tangling in my hair, but when a hand reached out and grabbed my ankle in that dark hallway, I let loose a blood-curdling scream that would make the director of “Saw” proud. (Not that I would ever see said movie). I nearly trampled all the people in line in front of me to get out of there. I’ve never been in a haunted house since. To this day, I still shiver when somebody mentions haunted house and Halloween in the same breath.

But I digress…. Notice, I said the word plot used to scare me. That was before I started reading James Scott Bell’s Plot & Structure.As a newbie to writing fiction, I’d get confused about the word plot—what does it mean exactly? It sounds like some exotic species of plant that needs to be cared for in an exact, specific way or all will be lost. Read more