Bakers Dozen: Creative Writing Workbook (Chapter 2, page 1 of 2)

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Chapter 2

Plot: the sequence of events within a story, movie, novel, or in some cases, songs and poetry.

I. Sometimes, the plot varies.

A. It can be composed of a lot of physical action.

List five stories or movies that have a lot of physical action within the work.

(For example: "The Most Dangerous Game" -- a story where one man actually hunts another man.)

B. Sometimes the plot is full of psychological or mental/emotional action, not a lot of physical action.

List five stories or movies that have mainly mental/emotional or psychological action.

(For example: "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall" -- a story where an old woman is dying. She is not moving physically, but she is simply lying on a bed thinking back over her life.)

If you want to be a good writer, be a good reader. The stories like those mentioned above are two classics that are often required reading in literature classes.

NOTE: Generally, a plot follows this structure. The opening of the story establishes the setting and introduces the characters (exposition). Then, there is usually one event that starts the conflict and suspense in the story (inciting element). From there, the plot thickens; the characters get into more trouble and there are complications (rising action).

Finally, a high point will be reached where the conflict and struggle will end one way or another (climax). Then, there will be a period after this in which some resolution occurs (resolution, falling action).

II. Warm-up writing A. Find one song or poem that tells a story; write a paragraph or sketch pictures that outline the plot.

B. Write the basic plot of a movie you enjoyed.

C. Write the basic plot of a book or story you have read.

(For an alternative assignment, outline the plot in a series of sketches or pictures like a comic book. You don't draw anymore? Why not? Be a kid. Loose that imagination. You won't regret it.)

D. List the main events in a work, but list them out of chronological order. (at least 10 steps) Exchange your list with a peer in your writing group and try to rearrange the event in chronological order. (If you wish, you may do the same with pictures or drawings.)

E. In groups, write out examples of the elements of plot. Follow these directions. (The elements of plot don't necessarily have to go together.)

1. First, describe or illustrate a setting.

2. In general terms, describe an incident that begins the action and suspense.

3. Add two complications.

4. Put all the settings in one can, the first incidents in another, and the complications in another.

5. Each group selects one setting, one incident, and two complications.

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