Thursday, January 14, 2010

More Plot Structure

On Tuesday I talked about the Hero's Journey plot structure. There are a ton of other common structures, but at its simplest is my favorite-- saying that plot is "a problem and two doorways." This is talked about in Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. I like this a lot. It corresponds to the three act plot, which is something Janice Hardy covers really well this week in two posts that you need to read right now.

So let's look at the "problem and two doorways" method:

Problem: Professional soccer football player has broken ankle and cannot play in Scottish cup.
Doorway 1: Desperate, he decides to undergo radical foot replacement surgery.
(Mayhem ensues, where new foot kicks old ladies and puppies of its own accord.)
Doorway 2: Guy gets the evil foot amputated and lives with the results, which are that he can no longer play football, but he's seen as such a hero for his actions that he easily gets a football manager job (and he doesn't even mind that it's for some greeble club like Darlington.)

Do you see how he had a problem, made a choice (doorway 1) and then had to make another choice as a result (doorway 2)?

It's simple and I have never had a problem thinking of plot in these terms once I heard them.
What do you think? Is plot as simple as a problem and two doorways?

* The picture is of a doorway of a hotel in Santorini called the Kavalari, which is a hotel I knew well when I was there. You go through that door way and walk down steps cut into the cliff down to the actual hotel.


Travener said...

As for two "doorways": as Yogi Berra once said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

Sierra Godfrey said...

LOL Travener and thanks for being my only commenter :)

Tabitha Bird said...

That is a great way to think about it. Yeah, I think it can be that simple. Thanks for sharing this idea.

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