Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Emotional Structure

Thanks to another blog, I found a Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot: A Guide for Screenwriters by Peter Dunne.  Don't let screenwriter turn your novelist away.  It works for no matter the format.

Peter Dunne separates the script into two parts:
1. Plot
2. Story

Plot is what happens and not just what happens but what happens to the protagonist. 
Go ahead and read that sentence again.

Plot is what happens and not just what happens but what happens to the protagonist.

So you have the witness to a murder or business collapse or anything else that is outside the Protagonist.

Onto number 2-- Story:

Story is what it (the plot) does to the who it's happening to.

These two parts are the units of a novel or script. 

Then you merge these two parts.  Your no-doubt dashing hero must find the murder of the local football hero.  He heads out to interview the boy's mother, his high school girlfriend who broke his heart when she married his best friend.  He plans to act professional and friendly without warmth, the way he always treated her, also known as his defenses.  When he gets to her home, those skills fail him but he has to find the murderer so he must use another tactic, use another skill.  This is a risk for him because it diverts him but he wants to get back to normal. But something else happens and his past habits aren't working for him and he has to learn new tools.  If you were a smoker or know a smoker, you're aware of the promise to quit but then something happens and you lit one up?  His weakness is being exposed.
He might be unaware but he must change or fail. 

This leads to our story's climax's when the character learns something.  Here the emotion has changes because the hero has broken down his walls.  Now he's a better healed person for it.


Mona Risk said...

Hmm it's a bit difficult to understand, but I got the part that any novel should have a plot provided by ecternal events, and a story provided by the protagonist. Together plot and story form the book.An editor told me one to do an outline for the external plot, and an emotional development for the love story.

Josie said...

Story, plot, structure. These are all good points, Mageela. I have so much trouble with plot, so I appreciate any/all advice.