Friday, August 10, 2012

Plot Project, Anyone?

     Recently, I tried a free plot project that promised results and sounded like fun. I enjoyed it and learned so much, I had to share it with my Book Bandits and Scribblers alike!
     To our left is 1 of 6 stacks of cards which I prepped for, created, and studied with for the last 12 weeks.
     It was so worth it.
     This plot program quite literally redefined the little I knew about the subject before I began. It bettered my knowledge of plot TENfold. In 12 weeks. I chose to do this in the summer because I have very little time during the school year, but you can place it anywhere you choose, in your own schedule.
     Okay, enough introduction. Here's the sum of my work:
     These are the stacks of cards. They distill the plots of 6 novels into flippable, moveable form, and as the project's inventor says, "They are gold."
     These cards taught me how to identify scenes, doorways, acts, beats, and a load of other important concepts, so that I can write them into my own work. Unfortunately, I can't explain how this whole project worked without stealing the glory from the real inventor. Fortunately, if you're curious about this program, it's easy to get ahold of! In case you're not quite curious yet, I'll defer revealing its location just a little longer...
     Here is the final (and most fun!) step of the whole program, which I completed on Monday.
    For all you organizers out there, this a dream project. Really.
     The project certainly took time, but it's fun because you choose the books you study (unlike in school). If you do end up trying this project out, I suggest doing at least one book you've already read and know you enjoy. Finishing this project was like finishing a great school project. I felt a little wistful that it was over, but deliriously happy about it all the same. So, it's basically a self-paced (8-12 weeks), self-graded (it's all about how much you want to get out of it), fun  (reading novels!) class on plotting. And it works.
     So, now would you like to know how to find out more about this project?
     Okay, okay I'll tell you: It's out of a book called Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell, on pages 214-215. The whole book is fabulous for learning about the craft of fiction-writing, but this program in particular blew me away. As I mentioned before, you can do this enire program for free. Even the book! You can get from the library (it's at the Lakeport branch, but of course you can order it from wherever). I spent a total of $11 on the project: I spent $10 on a book I'd already decided to buy (The Scorpio Races, of course), and $1 on index cards from the Dollar Tree. You can make your own index cards, but I suggest buying them.
     And, in case you're wondering, there IS a reason the first two pictures of the cards look like they're part of a movie! But you'll have to read the book to find out why...muahahaha!

     *****Just as a reminder to any Teen Book Bandits, if you have been reading books nominated for Teens' Top Ten, the voting begins on Aug 13th and ends September 13th! If you haven't begun reading, you can still read 1, 2 or maybe even 3 before the voting ends. They are almost all available through the library system. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can find out by clicking the link above.
     Good luck everyone, and may the best book win!

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