A plot is a causal
sequence of events, the "why" for the things that happen in the
story. The plot draws the reader into the character's lives and
helps the reader understand the choices that the characters
make. Sure, we know the debonair young spy with a bionic arm and
the gorgeous red headed nuclear scientist with a ferocious and
inventive appetite for rough sex are going to go sheet
spelunking, but if we don't know what leads up to it, if indeed
we cut straight to that sheet spelunking and that's all there
is, that's just porn. And that's a different lesson.
THE FOUR PLOT CHUNKS
tradition demands that every plot contain four essential
building blocks or 'chunks', if you will. Exposition,
Complication, Climax and Resolution. Why call them 'chunks' and
not simply 'building blocks'? Simple. I am paid by the word.
Lets take our 'chunks' one at a time, shall we? For pretty much
the same reason.
Good exposition is like a scientist. The suit is
because this scientist is a whack job.
Exposition is the
information needed to understand the story. How will our reader
know that our gorgeous red headed nuclear scientist has a
ferocious and inventive appetite for rough sex? Simply because
she is 'stacked'? No! Firstly, because her stackedness is
descriptive not expository and also so what? What is it with you
and breast size anyway?
Now if we write:
"I see you've noticed my large breasts," said the gorgeous red
headed nuclear scientist, running a finger suggestively around
the rim of her Appletini. "I had them medically enlarged to
enhance my sexcapades. Inventive, no? And by the way, I like my
Suddenly, a simple
description of boob size becomes… EXPOSITION!
The complication in a story is like a roadblock. Just make sure
the soldiers at your complication aren't angry, bitter and all
hopped up on stay-awake pills, or they might panic and kill
everyone in your car.
debonair spy said, picking the cherry out of his Manhattan with
the metallic fingers at the end of his bionic arm. "Wanna
blow this upholstered Men's room and go have sex somewhere?"
Which is exactly what they—
Wait a second there, buddy boy! Sure, everybody wants to get
straight to the Motel hijinks (see 'sheet spelunking')! But if
you give people what they want right away, they'll never value
it! That's why on the rare occasions you go home from a night of
shameful date prospecting with someone, when you wake up the
next morning, you're revolted. Now I know I've used a sex
metaphor to explain a sexual plot device in a sex story, but
come on, would you even be listening otherwise?
Something has to
get in the way of our hero getting his way! That's the
complication! See how easy it is to remember? The complication
complicates the story! Now, what's going to get in the way of
our debonair spy Gittin' his Black Ops on (see Motel Hijinks)?
Okay, I brainstormed and what I came up with was an evil robot
eagle with a lisp.
"Not tho fatht,
Mithter Thpy!" the evil robot eagle lithped, hoithting the
gorgeouth red headed nuclear thientitht towardth the thieling in
one glithening talon.
don't really need to have the narrator lisp. In fact, it's
probably inadvisable. Plus it drives your spell-check whacky. My
monitor is so red and green right now I'm LOOKING FOR
PRESENTS!... under the tree. 'Cause red and green are Christmas
colors. In addition to being the colors of the wavy lines
underneath words and phrases thought to be errors of grammar or
spelling by the particular... word processing program... I'm
There are no images associated with this term that do
not have strong Freudian implications.
I know what you're
thinking and it's not just wrong, it's naughty. The climax isn't
a climax, which is to say it should be, but not that kind. If
there's a lot of screaming and yelling and your parents burst
into the room and later you have to go to a special summer camp,
it's the wrong kind of climax. Or maybe that's just me. In
literature, on the other hand, the climax is the turning point
in the story that occurs when characters resolve the
"What that evil robot eagle didn't know," said the debonair spy,
tossing the now not power producing battery pack into the air
and catching it in the hand on his bionic arm, "Is that I knew
where his battery pack was."
This picture is here because you have the attention
span of a small child.
Now that we have
seen the Debonair Spy and the Gorgeous Red Headed Nuclear
Scientist meet up in a bar, (you did get it was a bar, right,
and not actually a men's bathroom with upholstered toilets?
'Cause there's no such thing as one of those.) Now that we have
learned of our Scientist's feisty ways regarding Wigwam
Shenanigans (see 'Gittin' Black Ops on), now that we have
encountered our complicated complication (and everybody knows
how complicated robots are) and bested it, we can have our
resolution! YES! Now, finally, at last, we have reached the long
awaited moment when our characters can attend the Genital Rodeo
(See 'Wigwam Shenanigans')!
"Why don't you
take a picture of my boobs?" The Gorgeous Red Headed Nuclear
Scientist husked languidly, "They'll last longer."
debonair spy with the bionic arm said, the fingers on the hand
of his bionic arm turning off the motel room light.
Oh, don't be sore!
Imagine it yourself, I don't get paid enough to do it for you.
(By the way, this is a factually accurate statement. Most
prostitutes, even cheap massage parlor girls, make more money
than aspiring writers) And besides, I already got you to read
the whole thing and left you wanting more. So when the sequel
comes out you'll rush to the local 'Borders' to see if I
eventually describe what it's like to have sexual intercourse
(see 'Genital Rodeo')!
That's what a good
plot does. Keeps the reader turnin' them pages like one of
Pavlov's dog's hearing a bell ring and automatically turning the
pages of a book it's reading. And now you know everything you
need to know to write good plots of your own. So screw off. Who
needs you, anyway?
If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out:
Tips For Young Writers: Uh-oh! Writer's Block!