Emotional Plotting

It’s that time of year again! The time to dive deep, start drowning, and scramble back up to breath by December. It’s time for National Novel Writing Month!

If you didn’t read Samantha’s post about generational plotting be sure to check it out because I’ll be building off of her thoughts here. Character is sovereign with writing.

Classically, the plot graph consists of a line starting with these parts:

  1. Inciting Incident- the thing that starts it all.
  2. Rise- the middle, building conflict with resolutions that up the anti instead of solving the issue.
  3. Climax- the big fight.
  4. Resolution- the wrap up.

But with an emotional plot graph there is a few extra pieces (as a plotter I like all the pieces, please don’t judge):

  1. Normal- a regular (or regular for your character) life.
  2. Inciting Incident- things go wrong for the character’s current life.
  3. Rise- some things get resolved but the stakes continue to go up in regards to the character’s life.
  4. Fall- t h i n g s – g o – w r o n g… a lot.
  5. Darkest Moment- nothing will ever be right again but the character decides to press on regardless. If you participate in #pitmad on Twitter or other competitions the editors may ask to see this scene as part of the decision.
  6. Climax- the character’s choices lead to the big fight.
  7. New normal – things are settled but not totally the same.

The emotional plot graph is not the same thing as a character arc. A character arc is how the character’s life has changed internally, whereas I’m talking about the external changes as a part of plot. Sometimes, authors will pen a story that fuses the two creating a hybrid. But that’s out of the norm.

If you’re a plotter, like me, who struggles with the lack of voice or less dimensional characters, switching your plotting mindset to focus on the emotional plot graph versus a regular plot line is a game changer.

Happy Questing!

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