Test Time

Plot is more than dramatic action. It involves having character emotional development, dramatic action and thematic significance. This is also known as how your protagonist acts or reacts. By doing these three things he or she is changed and something is learned. When stories get stuck it is likely that one of these three key elements has been ignored. One might concentrate on the action only, forgetting that character provides interest and is the primary reason people read books.

Organizing solely around the character can make one overlook the fact that dramatic action provides the thrill that each story needs. One might forget to develop the overall meaning of the story or the thematic significance. When the dramatic action changes the character at depth over time, the story becomes significant.

The Power of Character

In a story line, the characters grow and change in reaction to the dramatic action. This growth does not rely solely on a physical level. The challenges the characters face must create emotional effects, the deeper the better for reader. An effective way to do so is the use of a Scene Tracker. A scene tracker will ask you to fulfill seven essential elements in every single scene, with the biggest being focused on the character emotional development.

For example:

The Crisis: The crisis is an event in a scene that works like any crisis we may come across in our real life. Its job is to shake things up in such a way that the protagonist has to act. It takes on dramatic proportions when it is seen as the highest point in the dramatic action plot up to date in the story.

It has been fortunate for me so far that I have not gotten stuck yet. But knowing that there is a guideline of things that need to be included is a good thing to know. Plus it is a good tool to put my stories to the test and see if they have the three key elements that is needed. I can use it as a checklist of sorts to see if my works are well working. I need all the help I can get.

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