True? I don’t know. I mean… How can we even know if one thing is better than other? We would have to figure out some sort of context by which compare different things, right?
For example, what sounds better? Going out with no real place in mind to go to? or going out knowing exactly where you have to go?
I mean, in both cases it’s not guaranteed that you’re gonna get to the destination. Maybe you meet some obstacle that doesn’t let you pass along the way. Things happen, okay?
Thing is, if you were going nowhere, it really doesn’t matter if you overcome the obstacle, you just can go back or whatever. It is only when you have a destination that you’re compelled to move forward.
Such metaphysical insight must be making our pantheon of philosophers wet their pants right now. Worry not, in this video we’re gonna expose the juicy elements of considering your plot before diving into a story. We’re not trying to convince you, we’re just telling you that…
PLOT CAN MAKE YOUR STORY BETTER.
You might be wondering, How?
Just remember the previous analogy about going out, your plot is your roadmap for the external conflict of the story.
Yes, there’s more than one type of conflict.
When figuring out the plot, what you’re doing is figuring out the spine of your story, it’s the foundation on top of which everything else rests. A classic definition of it would be; “The main events of a story devised and presented as an interrelated sequence”.
Now, these events refer to the external conflict as we said before, but also consider that, for the most part, they’re what the audience is gonna be watching and also it is definitely the selling point of any story.
Like in Independence day, right? the plot of that movie was about an alien invasion. So it covers the discovery of the invasion, the invasion itself and the final battle to free planet Earth.
That’s a PLOT!
Let’s go back to that classic definition for a moment;
“The main events of a story devised and presented as an interrelated sequence”.
There are two things in this definition that are worth thinking about:
Main events: A sum of actions or events that occur in the story.
Interrelated: A connected order for these actions or events to happen.
So, what’s the difference between PLOT and STORY?
- Story is what happens.
- Plot is what happens in the connected order.
An example of this:
- Story: A dude died and then a woman died.
- Plot: A dude died and then a woman died of grief.
Got it? Okay, so “died of grief” implies a causal relation between both deaths, a connection.
Independence day, right?
So there can’t be a battle for the destiny of the planet if there’s no invasion first. In the same way, knowing how the whole thing ends can help you decide which events will comprise the development of your movie. DAAA
Let’s say someone asks you, hey, you’re a writer, right? and you say, yeah sure, whatever, I’m not a cocky cock. Which you are btw. Anyway, the other person then asks, so, what are you writing about?
You don’t wanna tell him that you haven’t written anything in like 2 years, so you eye the room searching for some inspiration to cover your shame with a lie and you land on a picture of two people getting back together.
Back together, uh? They answer back, kinda unsure if the information provided relates to an interesting story.
So, what do you do? Well think about it, people getting back together, this means they were apart, right?
Our causality is from being apart to getting back together. Maybe an alien abducts one of the characters and they take them to the spaceship. This poses the question, can a person abducted by aliens come back to their loved ones? Well, it depends you know, I mean, how tough are those aliens? are there other humans in there? maybe they can become a leader of the humans and face these crazy aliens, take control of the spaceship and come back home, right? But here’s the thing, turns out these crazy aliens were just heralds of a full-scale extraterrestrial invasion. So our protagonist now has to make a painful choice, either use the abducted spaceship to collide against the alien mothership and stop the invasion or come back home and enjoy their few last minutes with their loved ones. Either way, there’s no hope, or so does it seems. You see, our protagonist was a selfish person who only did what was in their best interest, maybe this was even the reason he was abducted in the first place, after performing one of their classic selfish acts. But out there, facing some disgusting reptilian villains, he won’t be able to be like that, no-no. If he is to become a leader, he must change from selfish to selfless, right?
And what does a selfless person do? Yes, they would choose to collide with the mothership. The thing is, these crazy aliens were not the kamikaze type, they had some escape pods ready in the original alien spaceship. And thus, our newborn hero manages to make the spacecraft collide with the mother ship, stopping the invasion and floating back to Earth aboard the escape pod, where he ultimately lands and gets back to their loved ones. Unfortunately, he’s still young and his wife is now an old lady.
Because the picture was about a young man hugging his grandma.
I think we convinced them….
Now, back to the initial question.
Does any of this talk about plot help you make your story better in any way?
I think it does! Just think about it, the plot can be thought of as a chain of events in which previous events act as a cause for the next ones and so on!
Now you can write any dumbass story about alien invasions you want by following two simple rules:
- Any event leads to another.
- Any event comes from a previous one.
I know, I know, plot is much more than that. I mean stories can be as simple or complex as your imagination can make them. Over the next weeks we’ll be diving into the fabric of stories and maybe figure out why some of them are so awesome!
Now, if you liked this video please remember to subscribe and give us a like.
This is M. Light, with the first of many videos about storytelling, wishing good luck in writing.