Friday, November 07, 2008

The Concept of Plot

It's difficult to know if the ability to plot a good story is something that is genetically endowed or whether it can be learned.

What's certain is that it's difficult to tell a good story.

Many can draw a compelling character, paint words into scenes that ring in your thoughts for days, or snap through the back and forth of expert dialogue.

But all of this still needs a storyline, even a loose one.

Take a look at this image from Norman Mailer's plot for Harlot's Ghost. It's not the details that a novelist needs to consider, but the connections. Perhaps it's worth plotting a story out before or during or even after writing, but what's most important is keeping the concept of the connections in mind.

1 comment:

Susan Barnes said...

Yes, the connections. It's all about connections. I wonder how big that piece of paper is that has Norman's plot diagram on it. Do you know? Is it a regular 8.5 x 11 sheet? It looks almost like a map.