Michael Stuart Kelly Posted May 20, 2013 Share Posted May 20, 2013 The Simplest Effective Plot System I Have Come Across - Dan WellsAfter watching this series of videos for the third time, I decided to put them here.I have read book after book on writing and this, by far, blows them all away for beginning writers, and for advanced writers, too, if they have difficulties with plotting.Dan uses a seven part system of main events:1. Hook2, Plot Turn 13. Pinch 14. Midpoint5. Pinch 26. Plot Turn 27. ResolutionThis doesn't look like much at first glance, and, actually, the first time I went through these videos (about 2 years ago), I was not all that impressed. For some reason, I needed to read Story Engineering by Larry Brooks (which is one of the best fiction writing books out there in my opinion) to realize that:Plot Turn 1 up to Midpoint --> The protagonist is reacting to the situation.Midpoint up to Resolution --> The protagonist makes a decision and acts against the situation by volitional.Plot Turn 1 is often called the Inciting Incident in other systems. And the Resolution is often called the Climax.In other words, in the first part of the story, the protagonist encounters a problem and tries to figure out what it is and what to do about it while having to deal with it. At a certain point, he gets fed up (or has a realization) and then decides to take matters in his own hands, then he resolves it.Once you get that idea down enough to use it in your own works, the seven points make perfect sense. (And, as Dan said, these seven are not written in stone.) Also, you see where you can pepper in try-fail sequences and other plot additions.This system works across all genres, suspense, romance, comedy and so forth--including subplots. I have only mapped in my mind some of Rand's fiction according to this system, but it works like a charm. And speaking of charm, the best part about this system is that you can use it for different threads all running simultaneously through the same overall story. As Dan shows for the Matrix, he analyzes four different throughlines (although he does not use that term) for The Matrix:1. Action2. Character3. Romance4. BetrayalEach has its own seven part throughline or plotline.This is an amazing set of videos, especially coming from a relatively new author. Together, they come to under 50 minutes (each is a little under 10 minutes). There is some annoying music at the beginning and end of each with plugs for one of Dan's books, but, hell, he's entitled to his commercial.I hope you, especially writers, get as much value out of this as I did. But even if you are not a writer, this helps a great deal with understanding and interpreting fiction. As Dan points out, his concept weds perfectly to the Hero's journey of Joseph Campbell.And one not for the record. Dan credits the writers of Star Trek Roleplaying Game Narrator's Guide, for his main inspiration for this system.Whatever... It's still the best system I have seen to date.1 2 3 4 5 So far, as far as I know, Dan Wells doesn't have any published books on writing. The moment he comes out with one, I will be getting it.Apropos, Dan deals with plot across a long story, but I have been experimenting with using his outline for themes and emotional sequences and even small scenes within a larger story and it is very powerful.Before too long, I should be releasing some my fiction that is in the works.Michael Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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