Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Plot Structure and Scars

It's beautiful isn't it? Big swoops of energy, change, plot, surprises, and finally that moment of ah ha!. What am I talking about? That would be a plot structure.

I'm not so great at actually drawing out my plot structure. It is sooooo unlike the diagram above that I found on a random google search. Thank you google and people more talented than myself. As I was saying...Me and Structure mapping not such a happy couple. I can do the structure part, the maping gets a little crazy. That is until I was looking at this diagram, yes the one above, and WHAM! It hit me like I was the bug on the windshield of an idea. It's Harry Potter's Scar!

No, seriously, tilt your head a little and squint....YES! You see it don't you? This post could have just ended with a few little, "well now I'm inspired to do better" thoughts (which is true) but I'm willing to go another step forward and do a little map of my own, be afraid, be very afraid. So here's what I came up with:

Inciting Accident: Harry's parents are killed and Harry aquires scar
Rising Action: Harry resists Lord Voldy's menions for two years and learns new, super, awesome spells
Reversal: Harry figures out not everyone is as they seem, Wormy and Padfoot Complex
Rising Action: Harry resists Lord Voldy and his minions for three more years
Reversal: Harry finds out for sure that it must be him. He is the ONLY one who can kill old Voldy.
Rising Action: Harry knows about horcruxes and works to distroy them. Finally getting all but at the cost of his life right?
Climax: WRONG. Harry is back again and fighting the Voldy who's about to go moldy!!!
Falling Action: Voldy dies and Harry moves on with life. "All is well." (<=Best three words ever written)

Get it now? All of those things goes back to the fact that Harry has a scar. Harry, not Neville or anyone else, Harry. It makes him a target, which makes him learn stuff, which makes him suspicious of others, which helps him to realize more people are on his side than he realizes, which makes him work harder to protect those people, which leads him to his mission, the killing of Voldy, finally his mostly happy ending and the final line of the books, "All is well."

I now have a starting place. What is my "scar"? What is it that will hook my books together? What's that thing that will hook your book together? I'd love to hear in the comments!


Summer Ross said...

Interesting post! I don't have a series of books to hook together- but it makes me think and wish I did just so I could figure mine out.

Amie B said...

good thing you don't write high fantasty (i don't either). but i took a class with Tracy Hickman (The Dragonlance Chronicles). the diagram is a circle in the center then it has like a bajillion offshoots. like a spide with waaay too many legs. confusing as heck!

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Man, do you think JK knew all of this when she first came up with the idea for Harry's scar?

Mold Voldy. *giggles*

Meredith said...

This is the best way of describing plot structure I have ever seen (though I may be a bit biased, since I love Harry Potter!). Thanks for sharing :)

Carolyn V. said...

I love the diagram. JK knew what she was doing when she wrote the scar. =)

Lisa said...

This is actually really cool - plus I love any explanation that ties in with Harry Potter :)

Corey Schwartz said...

Ha! Great post, Bethany. Moldy Voldy... you may even have a rhyming PB in you!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love this!! Definitely among your top posts! :-)

Elana Johnson said...

First off, I'm so glad that graphic didn't show up on my browser. Stuff like that freaks me out.

Second, I love how you connected this to Harry's scar. That's something I understand, and can probably apply to my own worlds, my own characters, my own writing. So thank you!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Great post, Bethany! You are so right about the scar and the trials and tribulations your mc must go through before they can reach their goal/climax...

Sara McClung ♥ said...

This is an AWESOME post Bethany! Now I'm going back through my on works to see what the scars are :)