Hate Plotting? No problem. Use Plot as a Character. Plotting for the Non-Plotter

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© R Mitchell

Carrie De Simas

Editor in Chief @ GoneWithTheWord

What is plot? By basic definition, plot is the series of events that occur within a book.  

Plot: A tale of grocery shopping. The drive, the shopping, the return home.

Bestseller?

Hardly.

A better way to view plot is to envision plot as a character who has a hate-on for the protagonist.

Put Plot (as an invisible character) into the grocery shopping story and see what happens.

On the drive to the grocery store Plot lets Protagonist see her husband with a woman at a café laughing.

Protagonist doesn’t want to jump to conclusions and avoids the conflict that Plot had hoped to instill. Classic denial.

So, Plot throws screaming kids in the backseat and a crazy driver who cuts Protagonist off while she is rubbernecking at her husband.

Protagonist swerves up over a curb to avoid an accident and damages her car. Sounds expensive.

Plot isn’t done. Plot wants her crying in defeat.

Protagonist arrives at the grocery store. All the sale items are gone and she has to pay full price. Plot reminds Protagonist that she doesn’t have enough money in the bank.

Protagonist uses the emergency credit card. Except Plot really has it in for her: the card is maxed out. What? This is the emergency credit card. No one else can use it.

Except her husband. Who is out with a blond instead of a business meeting.

She gets home, with cranky kids and no groceries. But at least she’s home.

Plot doesn’t want her to relax though and has left a note on the counter from her husband. He has left her. For the blond.

That whole (albeit cliché) plot would be just the first chapter.

Plot cackles. When Protagonist finally starts to stand up for herself, Plot will hurl bigger obstacles at her. Just as any worthy enemy would. This is literary war and Plot intends to win. Keep this going until either Plot or Protagonist wins (in Shakespearean terms this is the difference between Tragedy or Comedy).

In most books, Protagonist will finally throw out her Beaten Down Shoes and pull out the Ruby Red Heels. Then she will take control away from Plot and back into her own hands.

Not coincidentally, this is also the completion of the character arc, the Protagonist having finally been able to grow and change in the way she needed in order to obtain happiness.

Et voila. Plot is defeated. Book is over. 

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