DWP No. 025

 

OBJECTIVE

Please participate by sharing your thoughts and/or opinions and/or theories and/or philosophies by answering Mary’s (yes, our very own Mary) following question:

What is PLOT?

please use [brackets] to distinguish between [questions regarding the prompt] and your writings.

 

11 Comments

  1. I think of the plot as the umbrella which covers the entire story. Nothing happens under the umbrella which works against the overarching plot. There might be sub plots, but they are actually there just to enhance the plot by either introducing tension or fortifying the plot by standing in contrast or conformity.

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      1. Isn’t plot just a thing (word) that points to a thing (thing). Plus, I used that word nine times in my verbal vomit. Do I win?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. As a (specifically) screenwriting practitioner, I constantly pace around the idea of Plot as being a reflective evaluation of “what happens” during the course of a narrative. Sometimes, Plot is the unfolding of happenings that are “seen” by the reader or viewer, and sometimes it is the “implication” of happenings unseen that contribute or constitute the Plot. Either way, for me, the concept of Plot is a verbal tool used to describe and analyze a narrative that you have already experienced (through creation or external exposure), but it cannot be manufactured directly. “Plot” emerges as a byproduct of the unfolding of reality, real or fictional.

    Personally, I treat it more like a Schrödinger’s cat and take a stance in defiance (albeit somewhat curiously so) of opening the box. Analysis of Plot and Creation of Plot are two diametrically opposed sides of the same paradoxical coin: The former, a top-down, verbal, active process; the latter, an emergent, non-verbal, passive process. I have no reason to open the box and realize the murder of one of them so the other may stand alone. Meanwhile, while I direct my attention towards the construction and exploration of other things, Plot always finds a way to grease its nimble little fingers and secretly stick ’em up the keisters of everything Time leaves in its wake without anyone forcing the issue.

    Perhaps Plot likes it better that way… in the shadow. And if you try to shine a light on it and leash it up along with you, as an indentured servant, it pulls itself apart at the seams and leaves you trudging alone with a well-intentioned noose around a heavy, frayed bundle of paper strips and scraps of anxiety.

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    1. Interesting post. I would like to learn from you as screenwriting is something I have never explored. Suggestions for resources? Thank you!

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      1. I actually don’t have any screenwriting resources I could recommend. I figured it out on my own and started making movies before I ever went to film school (where I’m sure I was at least semi-resistant to any screenwriting education that may have contradicted whatever pompous fantasy I had about my own abilities.) The past number of years I’ve just continued on writing scripts on my own as a hobby (hopefully building a body of work to cycle into production in the future?) and tweaking my script styling and technique to whatever suits my own personal fancy, and clearly without oversight, so it’s likely I’m not much good for a formal education on the matter myself, nor do I really feel comfortable selecting the name of some script writing book from my past arbitrarily, because none come to mind as being of much use and there’s certainly no reason I’d be motivated to steer you down some random ideological alley I’ve never been down myself.

        You can, however, check out imsdb.com (the script-centric little sister of imdb.com, the ubiquitous movie info database) and just search for your favorite movie and see if the script is available to view or download for free. Chances are, it will be. If you like reading your favorite (or new!) movies in script form, then I’m sure you’ll have new answers to ascertain other than helpful resources.

        The script is a means to an end, not the final product itself, so manufacturing a literary device to convey the yet-intangible final product, while also giving latitude for the creative mastery and technical expertise of each individual crew member who will interpret the script and digest it into something sensory that is greater than the sum of its parts, no matter how simple or sophisticated the concept, kind of feels like writing a different language to me. So I guess from that standpoint, I’ve always found the best way to learn a new language is through practice and exposure, no matter how humiliating it is to get intensely and violently educated by some sweaty Korean grandma for somehow fucking up eating soup.

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  3. Please read this one. Siri doesn’t understand my accent half the time, and then as soon as I post I see all of these errors!!

    In my opinion, plot is the series or collection of events in a story or a novel. But even that explanation I stumble over which is why I raised the question with TK. I’ll get ideas for a story or novel and several things might happen: A. I get bored. B. I paint myself into a corner. C. I do both. For some reason I stumble over plot quite a bit.

    What I’m doing now is rereading simple favorite books from childhood such as Harriet the Spy which, as 5th grader, really inspired me to be a writer, in order to teach myself about plot and to get a grasp on how authors reveal characters. I don’t know about you guys, but I learn best through examples. To me, I find it helpful to start with the simplest of stories such as The Very Hungry Catapillar by Eric Carle as a vehicle to better understand plot. When I wrote the first draft of the coming of age novel for my first NaNoWriMo I sketched out a very rough list of what happens in each chapter. It helped me figure out what to write about the next day, to keep track of what I DID write about, and kept me going so I didn’t constantly do 1-3 above.

    But I have so much to learn and the biggest thing is getting myself out of the way. Perhaps some of you feel the same way. I’d love to get your thoughts.

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    1. You have an inkling. You don’t know what it is, but it’s something. A sentence rises out of the fog of your subconscious and brings to your attention the perfect string of words … “She makes a beeline for the shelf.” Why?, you ask yourself. Well, I don’t know. What is she doing there? I don’t know. Another sentence rises … “Hot oozing, something drips onto her head … anger.” Oh, okay, she’s angry. Why is she angry? I don’t know.

      Two days go by.

      Another sentence rises … “The thought of being alone here perusing the stupid fucking shelves of a bakery that over charges on items that taste like shit! makes her want to weep in the aisle, in front of a store full of strangers, but she’s not crazy.” Oh, okay, well what the fuck is wrong with her? I don’t know.

      A week later.

      etc. etc. etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A plot is the thread that keeps a story together. It doesn’t have to be a good or strong thread, but to have a good or strong story it must be.

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