Friday, April 20, 2012

Not Your Teacher's Plot Diagram

Do you remember, back in elementary or middle school, when your teacher would show you a diagram of a plot?  It would be a triangle labeled with key points like climax, resolution, etc.  It looked a little something like this:


Think about this plot for a minute.  Who wants to read a book with a bunch of exposition?  Who wants to read about that much falling action?  Nobody, that's who.  I don't know why teachers draw diagrams like this. 

Here's a better plot diagram, that might actually make for a good book:
See the difference?  There's no exposition here at all.  Exposition generally isn't interesting.  Also, note the tiny amount of falling action.  Falling action is sometimes necessary to make the plot end logically, but the amount of people who really enjoy it is probably the same as the number of boyfriends I have.*  Once the reader gets to the climax, they've hit the highest point.  You really can only go downhill from there, which gets boring.

Just because I could...I started wondering, what would a diagram look like if it was all falling action?  Would that be an anti-plot, or something?
 Just for good measure, I made a diagram of a very boring book that would be worthwhile only to insomniacs in desperate need of sleep:

And then there's the Annie plot diagram.  The diagram of a book I'd think is extremely awesome.  Here it is.  Click to see it up-close and personal.  Besides, it's cool because it uses a font based off my handwriting. 
Then I realized that the Annie Preferred Plot Diagram resembled a dinosaur.  And thus the Plotasaurus was born (evolved?):

Robert Plot would be proud.  Yes, there was a Robert Plot who was involved with discovering dinosaurs.  No joke.  Here, let me Google that for you.

I tried to interject a point into this post.  I'm not sure if I succeeded.  Nevertheless, my point is this: Exposition isn't very interesting.  Neither is falling action (I'll have to post more on these two later).  And don't believe plot diagrams that look sketchy (a law of nature: if it looks sketchy, it probably is).  If you've ever called a teacher out on this, please share your experiences.  

*I've never had a boyfriend.

Have writing questions?  Don't hesitate to shoot me an email at theanniemarie(at)gmail(dot)com! 

PS: I made a button out of the Plotasaurus, so now you can have your very own Plotasaurus on your blog!  (to link back here, of course...)

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5 comments:

  1. I must admit, I am rather fond of that plotosaurus :) And your plot diagram is waaayy better than my teacher's XD

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  2. OMG We were just talking about plot mountains in Creative-not-so-creative writing-that-mostly-involves-complaining class. If ONLY I had seen this eailer.

    I LOVE your plot and your plotosaurus. That is now my most favorite dinosaur ever! :D Great post!

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  3. Haha! I love how your diagram of awesomeness has little firework looking explosions all along it! :-)

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  4. This is great and very "punny"! Thanks so much for sharing. I will definitely use the Plotosaurus example the next time I am explaining what makes a great story to one of my creative writing students! Keep up the general awesomeness!

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    1. You're welcome! Thank you for commenting. As for keeping up the awesomeness, I shall try my best!

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