The Plot Thickens synchronicity & discovery
Stories are inevitable if they’re good, but they’re not predictable. —Filmmaker Andrew Stanton, writer of Toy Story
PLOT • Noun: A plan or scheme made in secret to accomplish some purpose, often unlawful or dark, but not necessarily. • Verb: To plan secretly, often for some unlawful or dark purpose, but not necessarily. A literary term defined as the events that makes up the story, particularly as they relate to one another in a pattern, in a sequence, through cause and effect, or by coincidence.
There is no single method for developing plot. It’s useful to understand the standard, then find your own way. Dénouement: From the French, “untying,” and the Latin, nodus, meaning “knot to untie.” The outcome or result of a complex situation or sequence of events. The final unraveling of the main dramatic complications in a play, novel, or other work of literature.
in media res In medias res is a Latin term meaning “into the middle of things.” As a literary device it refers to beginning a story somewhere in the middle rather than beginning at the beginning and following the sequence of events in order.
Romeo died and then Juliette died. Romeo died and then Juliette died of grief.
Romeo thought Juliette was dead so he killed himself. Juliette awoke to find Romeo dead and killed herself.
There is no such thing as a perfect plot. On the other hand, a good story doesn't just happen, it’s designed.
What doesn’t work, is what doesn’t work—what causes a reader to stop and frown. Generally, this is a reaction to some inconsistency in the storyline, creating a sense of implausibility for the reader.
Coincidence verses Justification Coincidence in a plot can be dangerous. How likely is it in a city of 7 million that your judge protagonist just happens to get the embezzling case of the man she thinks responsible for the hit-and-run that killed of her mother? Not very. To fix the coincidence without losing the event, make it happen because of characters. The judge doesn't just happen to get the case; she seeks it, determined to avenge her mother's death. Now it’s not an accident, but the result of a character's need for vengeance.
Where do ideas come from? Gathering
the source of all reality is unconditional creativity
Creation, in my opinion, is a cooperative venture. We create by aligning ourselves with the larger creative forces that are responsible for our existence, our creation…
where do ideas come from? • Info: newspapers, talks, images • Your Environment • Your Life: Memories • Travel: land and artifacts • Psychological Events • Dreams & Day Dreams • Vivid Sensory Impressions
Poetic Justice Stagecoach days in Mendocino City
Meaningful Coincidence “Meaningful coincidences are unthinkable as pure chance—the more they multiply and the greater and more exact the correspondence is...they can no longer be regarded as pure chance, but, for the lack of a causal explanation, have to be thought of as meaningful arrangements.” — Dr. Carl Jung
synchronicity SYNCHRONICITY IS MEANINGFUL COINCIDENCE an inexplicable paralleling of inner and outer events.
Synchronicities, epiphanies, peak and mystical experiences, are all cases in which creativity breaks through the barriers of the self and allows awareness to flood through the whole domain of consciousness. It is the human mind operating, for a moment, in its true order and extending throughout society and nature, moving through orders of increasing subtlety, reaching past the source of mind and matter into creativity itself. Synchronicities open a window onto a creative source of infinite potential, the well-spring of the universe itself. —David Peat
the suspension of disbelief “What if you slept? And what if, in your sleep, you dreamed? And what if, in your dream, you went to heaven, and there plucked a strange and beautiful flower? And what if, when you awoke, you had the flower in your hand? Ah, what then?” —Samuel Taylor Coleridge
So you’ve got an idea, so what? Selecting
PEOPLE • Who is there? • Name them. • What’s their backstory? • Describe them. • Who are their friends? • What do they want? • Want are their failings and/or flaws?
TIME& PLACE • Where? Ukiah? San Francisco? Paris? • Or where? At home or in a café. • Choose locations for impact, not just as setting. • Period: Present, Past Or Future? • The Timeline • Time of day • Time passing • The season
So, what if? Uncovering conflict
conscious listening One of the ways a writer may seek to facilitate the relationship between conscious intent and unconscious content is by having as a starting point, a conscious intention of unearthingunconscious content—Madeline Sonik calls listening to a story as it unfolds rather than consciously directing it’s unfolding, “conscious listening.”
PLOT POINTS: Recognize what you know. Are there scenes or events that come to mind?
add trouble and stir Revisiting
dialoguing with yourself When an outline becomes the definitive road map for creation, writers run the danger of ignoring creative opportunity. If the unconscious reveals new possibility, suggesting something surprising or unexpected, the door is closed against it. The writer’s work is to learn to engage in a productive dialogue with the unconscious. Most of us have been taught to suspect anything we cannot immediately own as part of our predetermined intentions. —paraphrasing Canadian writer Madeline Sonik
resolving conflict… Or Not
Dénouement From the French, “untying,” and the Latin, nodus, meaning “knot to untie.” The outcome or result of a complex situation or sequence of events. The final unraveling of the main dramatic complications in a play, novel, or other work of literature.
We are a symbolic species. We humans engage in thought in ways no other species appear to. We use language symbolically. We know of no other species that has a written language, or uses metaphor in the same way that we do. Because of the inextricable connection between our language and our thinking, we live in a world to which no other species has access. Ours is a shared virtual world of thought-designed stories—stories of real experience, invented stories, stories that imply hidden or esoteric meaning, stories we use to explain and organize our understanding of the world, stories about the way things are. thought design