What is Plot Busters?
Plot Busters is my attempt to strengthen my writing by studying the structure of published novels.
But I have a secret.
Some of you may think I created Plot Busters because I felt the innate desire to share all my expertise.
Not really. I’m not an expert. I don’t pretend to be.
In fact, looking back on my earlier Plot Buster posts, I realize I might break them down differently today. That’s how much I’ve learned doing this.
I am on a journey to become a better writer, and I knew I needed to study published novels to do it. I’d read the craft books, but I found them hard to apply. I had too much head knowledge and not enough practical application power.
My first attempts at it over a year ago were pretty pitiful. I had some turning points and the climax but I wasn’t sure how to break down each act. I’d written a middle grade ghost story that I absolutely loved. I wanted to rewrite it but I knew it was lacking structure.
Then I read Save the Cat and I loved how Blake Snyder broke down structure. So I started breaking down books. You can use many different methods to break down stories. The nine point grid (didn’t work for me), five acts, four acts, 8 sequences, three acts, hero’s journey – just to name a few. Find one that works for you.
My studies provided answers but also raised questions.
- Do books have to follow structure?
- When’s the best time to be flexible with structure?
- Is it only high concept stories fit for film that work with structure?
- Is there a difference in structure with middle grade and young adult books?
- Is there a difference in structure with character driven vs plot driven books?
- Do my favorite books follow structure or not?
- Could some best sellers possibly have been even better with stronger structure?
- Can strong writing, voice or a compelling hook make up for a weak structure?
So many questions. And I wanted answers.
Want to learn with me? Every Monday. Here. Plot Busters. Some books we’ll spend a month with and others one day.
Starting next week, we’re looking at THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE, a young adult novel by Jandy Nelson. Because I was pretty sure a character driven book like that wouldn’t have a strong structure.
What do you think? Do character driven more literary books have strong structure?