Saturday, February 13, 2016

Alvina Ling: Plotting Your Novel

Alvina Ling is vp and editor-in-chief at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

"There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are." ~ W. Somerset Maugham

Aristotle: Character is plot revealed by action.

Alvina believes conflict is the most important element of plot.

The cat sat on a mat is not a story. The cat sat on another cat's mat is a story.

7 basic plots

  • overcoming the monster
  • rags to riches
  • the quest 
  • voyage and return
  • comedy
  • tragedy
  • rebirth
3 plots
  • boy meets girl (human meets human)
  • the little tailor (power to slay giants)
  • man learns a lesson
2 plots
  • a person goes on a journey
  • a stranger comes to town
Know what the rules are, then break them. 

Elements of plot Alvina looks for:
  • believability 
  • pacing
  • high stakes and emotional impact

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