Thursday, November 1, 2007

Plotting: The Pros and Cons of Plotting Style - Chapter by Chapter Styles

Another plotting style is the chapter by chapter method. While this is similar to synopsis style, it provides more detail and allows the author to see the story moving forward from scene to scene until the end of the book. Each scene must provide new information, deepen characterization and/or conflict in a realistic manner so that the reader can witness the growth of the characters, their relationships to one another, and their faith.

While outlining, as is done in the synopsis style, chapter by chapter focuses on the motivation, goals and conflicts of the major characters, but it also shows more details as to when and where various events happen and it ties the events into an organizational structure that is not as easy to change if the authors wants to take a short detour to develop a new idea that might add to the story's conflicts or depth to the plot. With each scene depends on the next, it could mean a total revision of the chapter by chapter outline so that the details fall into place again.

Because the synopsis style (basically an outline) does not place the growth or changes in character, relationships or conflict into a specific scene, the author can divert the action to new settings or into more complex situations without shifting too far from the original story. If the author wants to move a scene that reveals some important information farther into the story, it will not necessarily affect the plotting or if the information is moved earlier in the story it will not affect the flow of the story.

While both styles work for plotting, chapter by chapter nails the author into a structure that he may not want to follow once he gets to know his characters more fully. Naturally the chapter by chapter plotting style can be edited, but it can more easily cause the author to revise scenes already written.

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