Presentation on theme: "Retrograde Plotting Perry Glasser What We’ll Learn Plot requires conflict Characters are revealed by struggle Story Structure Stories proceed by causality."— Presentation transcript:
Retrograde Plotting Perry Glasser
What We’ll Learn Plot requires conflict Characters are revealed by struggle Story Structure Stories proceed by causality Climax is the confrontation of opposites Retrograde Plotting
Plot & Conflict Character vs. Character – Batman vs. Joker; Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed Character vs. Physical Environment – “To Build a Fire”; The Old Man and the Sea Character vs. Social Environment – Beloved, by Toni Morrison Character vs. Self – The “psychological” story Should Anna Karenina leave her husband and children for her lover? Agonies of choice with an object both good and bad…drugs, alcohol, guilty pleasures, anyone?
Characters & Struggle Nice people have nice lives - boring Good characters in trouble – whatever shall they do? Write about trouble and willful characters – We learn what our characters value and what they are like when they perform under stress – Victims make few decisions; the world decides for them and so they are less interesting characters.
Structure Exposition – Social or personal stability is upset Rising Action – Complications – character(s) struggle to regain stability Wants Fears Needs Climax – Confrontation of the plot’s opposites Falling Action Resolution – Stability is restored
Causality Because stability is upset, characters move through time and space. – That’s called “motivation.” Because they have distinct personalities and talents, characters struggle in specific ways. – That’s called “characterization” Because the challenges they confront don’t immediately restore stability, the story moves forward. – That’s called “rising action” Because they persevere in fulfilling their motives, they eventually confront whatever opposes them. – That’s called “climax” Because, because, because….
Climax and Confrontation The climax is exciting because it epitomizes the “fight.” The climax is a necessary scene – sometimes called “payoff.” The issue must be in doubt with the antagonists each capable of victory, though one can be much an underdog. – If the issue is not in doubt, no drama is possible: Godzilla crushes Bambi and Bambi is a victim.
Retrograde Plotting The writer turns the story upside down. If I want my protagonist to leave the earth as North America splits in two, what will I need to invent to make my artistic vision plausible? – My protagonist will need certain cognitive characteristics – My protagonist will need a means to leave the planet – My protagonist will need certain physical characteristics to achieve that goal – I will need to invent a reason for North America to split.
A Final Thought Your imagination supplies form. N.A. is to split in two because – Terrorists are planting atomic weapons along a fault line: can they be stopped? – An evil wizard is casting a mighty spell, and so we must leave by winged dragon for a better, purer place from which to fight Evil – An evil Emperor has constructed a Death Star and so we must leave by our rickety spacecraft to organize the intergalactic resistance. – Natural causes hastened by poor ecology. No one heeds our heroine, an independent rocket scientist…(to be played by Jodie Foster) – Natural causes, but humankind’s only hope is the mysterious widower, handsome Nobel prize-winning physicist, Lance Recluse, who needs to be summoned from his grief over the death of his wife. The fate of the world is in the hands of star-journalist, the young Belle Innocente as she journeys to his private laboratory on an isolated tropical island…