3 Quotes from Donald Maass hit me between the eyes:
- “What makes a breakout novel memorable are conflicts that are deep, credible, complex and universal enough so a great number of readers can relate.” (p. 147)
- “People do not change without in some way acting out…[and] when the dust settles your hero will never be the same again.” (p. 156)
- “The novel is too fluid a form to have only one structure.” (160)
Source: Maass’s chapter on Plot in: Writing the Breakout Novel, Writer’s Digest Books,2001
My own thought is that it all comes down to emotion. I need to get the emotion of the conflict (that is believable yada yada yada) on to the page and grab the reader with it. Make her feel it. How I structure that experience isn’t important as long as it’s powerful. So powerful the heroine changes and with good fortune so do the readers at least in some tiny way.
What makes a plot really work for you?
I’m new to opera, but my experience couldn’t have come to me at a better time. It’s so emotional. Not a word is spared. Dramatic and layered with such intensity it holds me in its spell until it’s over, and then I’m so exhausted I need a nap. It’s like an emotional marathon.
I watched Gaetano Donizetti’s”Maria Stuarda” on Saturday. Joyce DiDonato who played Maria Stuarda, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, was amazing. Physcially dramatic, her face showed every feeling, and then there was her voice. Oh my goodness, it carried such strong emotion it drew me right into the conflict. I trembled in my seat as she forgave Queen Elizabeth. (For chopping off her head.)
I highly recommend the ‘live at the MET’ productions Cinneplex theaters put on (around the globe). The opera (with English subtitles) plays on a big screen streamed live from the MET opera house in New York City. During intermissions they have interviews with all the main characters and explain intricacies of the plot. They show you the audience and backstage. What I like, best of all, is that I can see the faces of the singers close up as they perform. It’s like a Goddess’s view. All for $26.00 (Canadian).
Studying 24 (Seriously)
I’m taking a great course from Mary Buckham about ‘pacing’, and thinking a lot about my plot. That’s my excuse to study the TV show 24 on Netflix. Yikes it’s fast. I’m hoping that between my pulsing heartbeats, pacing wisdom will seep into my bones. And if not…at least I’m having fun.
Aren’t they beautiful. Orange with yellow tips that open to sunshine.
The picture, which doesn’t do them justice, took two hours to download from my cell phone. I finally figured out the problem was my yahoo email account which I use to relay the file, so I found another route. I know I’m not the only one having difficulty adjusting to Yahoo’s new interface. And I have to ask: What was wrong with the old one? Arrrrgh.
It’s been a quiet week of writing and collecting rejections. No time for research (except for 24). As a friend commented, “It’s the life of a writer.”
Love to hear your thoughts on emotion and plot.