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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Maturation Plot

I was just checking out your really informative blog and I noticed your "how to write" offer of help so I thought I'd ask. I'm about to write my first screenplay. its a maturation, coming of age, rites of passage plot about two teenage brothers trying to survive after the apocalypse. their father returns to take them on a journey that they don't wish to travel. what advice can you give me on tackling such a plot?

your help is most appreciated

When I am constructing my plots, I do two things first, but not necessarily in this order: 1) study and outline the plot points in a few movies, books, and plays that have similar structures, and 2) study relative reference books. When I've completed that process, I review my notes and pick out the plot points which are common to all references.

Next, using the above information, I create a rough outline of those common elements, as well as the ones I want to be in my book, and then I begin to "flesh out" the outline and fill in the gaps with my own characters and situations.

Two books that might be helpful to you with your story are "Blueprint for Writing" by Rachel Friedman Ballon (she covers screenwriting) and "20 Master Plots (And How to Build Them)." I've referred to these two books in past blogs because they have been tremendously helpful to me.

As I read your plot description, it appears to be a combination of two plot lines: Maturation and Adventure? Quest? Discovery? I don't know your story well enough to tell, but if I were you, I would study the requirements for the two you believe they are and weave them together as you construct your plot. That's what I had to do on the romantic suspense book I recently finished (it includes elements of both maturation and quest/rescue) and on the romantic suspense novel I'm currently working on.

As I stated in my previous blogs on "Wretched Excess," I can not entirely cover all that Tobias has to say about each plot, but as a bit of information to get you started, here are a few key elements of the Maturation plot:
  1. The maturation plot focuses on children progressing toward adulthood.
  2. "Start your story where the protagonist has reached the point in her life at which she can be tested as an adult" and then hit her with a"belief shaking" test like death, parent divorce, abandonment, or something else "apocalyptic."
  3. Show your character resisting then undergoing gradual, psychological and moral "change."
  4. Decide what price your character pays for this lesson and show how he copes with it.

Hope this helps. Good luck with your screenplay.

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