Sunday, June 27, 2010

Plot Poem

I happened upon a cool blog, Plot Whisperer for Writers and Readers. This is a "poem" that one writer penned to define plot.

Plot is a series of
scenes
deliberately arranged by
cause and effect
to create
dramatic action
 filled with
conflict, tension, suspense, and/or curiosity
 to further the
character’s emotional development
and provide
thematic significance.

Each italicized line is expanded in the original post.  How does this work for a picture book?  Picture books have a perfect marriage with the word scenes.  Each page MUST have a scene, a different scene.  The cause and effect action must happen quickly.  The dramatic action that is filled with conflict, tension, and suspense helps create page turns just like an adult novel, but there is typically only one or two main turning points.  The character also must always get what he or she wants.  Themes in picture books are not usually deep issues, but simple things important to children, such as friendship, family, bullies, summer, babies, moving, animals, toys, robots, cars, dinosaurs, princesses, dragons, lost teeth, adventures, make believe, and the list goes on and on.  A major theme of picture books is that of HUMOR.  If you do it well, you can definitely find a place among the bookshelves.

Challenge for the day:  Read a picture book, and break down the plot.  See if you can mimic it in a story of your own.

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