Delighted, really with the reading of “Believers” we did on Saturday. What is working is the emotional plot – and working well! Everyone felt good, warm and satisfied, at the end. The literal, or story, plot needs some clarifying, and I need to activate the character of Sam Halliwell as the antagonist.
Luckily none of this is a huge impediment, and I have Thanksgiving week free,
Here is some great advice on emotional/story plotting:
Think in terms of two plots – I’ll call them ‘Surface Plot’ and ‘Emotional Plot’. The emotional plot is what your story’s really about. It’s what powers the surface plot – the action. It’s what powers the whole story.
Playwriting structure will be created by this emotional plot – or should be.
Write down a rough outline of your emotional plot – not the surface plot which is merely a pretext for bringing the emotional catalyst to light.
As often as you can, stop yourself from asking the surface plot question: ‘What happens next?’. The danger with this is that you start trying to impose events onto the plot.
Let your imagination find ways to drive the story by focusing on the emotional needs of the character. It’s these needs which should be powering the surface action, creating dramatic moments, generating suspens.
Imagine your character on an emotional roller-coaster. Take a set of brightly coloured pens and let rip scrawling across a big notepad page sweeping the pen in giant waves to represent the character’s feelings throughout the story. At the high and low points of the curves, imagine what is happening outside the character when these emotions are being experienced. This is the surface plot – the events of the story.