Monday, March 14, 2011

Rescue Plot:

Today our Master Plot is: Rescue

We all know this plot and I think it is safe to say that many of us have experienced minor rescue plots in our lives. What do I mean by that?

When my children were little, my youngest took off at the mall one day. Desperate, I searched for her everywhere and finally contacted mall security. They immediately went to a major department store where her father had been shopping. There, in the middle of one of those round carousels that holds clothes, was my daughter. She grinned when we found her unaware that she had been lost.

I was the protagonist, chasing the villain, (my daughter’s imagination) to rescue my innocent child who didn’t understand what could happen to her.

The dynamics of the rescue is a three act story with three main characters. The good protagonist, who chases the evil antagonist to rescue the victim. The characters serve the plot. The antagonist is always evil. The protagonist is always good. The victim doesn’t matter except that they need to be rescued.

The reader has seen this plot a hundred times or more. They know what to expect. It is our job to add interest to the chase. No cliché’s here. If your hero pursues the villain to the top of the mountain, perhaps they should parachute off the top instead of hiking back down. Here, a good imagination will serve you well.

For every step your hero makes, the villain should be prepared to counter. Make it interesting. We don’t need to know much about either character. Backstory should be used sparingly to explain the relationship between the characters. It’s all about the plot.

A three act story: Separation, pursuit, confrontation and reunion. All woven with expert care.

If you’ve missed any of the “Plot” post go here.

For a more in-depth look at the Rescue Plot and others I recommend that you purchase: 20 Master Plots and how to build them, by Ronald B. Tobias.

Amazon link:

Next week: Master Plot Escape

Do you plan on writing a Rescue Plot?


Misha said...

Doorways can be seen as having a rescue plot. Although it's different to the structure described.


Dawn Embers said...

Another good post. While the rescue plot isn't the only one in my novel, I do have the "hero" in the first adult mutant needing to rescue his boyfriend. The villain kidnaps him in order to get him to come so he can eventually use the MC and his powers like a weapon. It was interesting to write because the villain surprised me in his methods of manipulation through being almost nurturing. It was fun to write a boy saves boy plot line in the novel.

Nas Dean said...

Hi Nancy,

Thanks for the link and another great post!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Is there a 'finding oneself' plot? Because that plot description would fit my books best.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've not used the rescue plot yet.

Joanne said...

I think the rescue plot can be used with my writing in a real parallel, abstract sense ... that of the mc finding and rescuing herself.

Rula Sinara said...

Great post. I just finished reading James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure. I need to check out 20 Master Plots as well.

BTW, you reminded me of how I used to 'get lost' and freak my mom out when I was a kid. I used to hide in the middle of the silky slips rack when she was shopping.

Anonymous said...

What a great post! Clear example of the rescue plot and how to keep it fresh.

Anonymous said...

What a great post! Clear example of the rescue plot and how to keep it fresh.

Michelle Gregory said...

i have a rescue plot, but it's part of the emotional journey my 2 MC's have to go through. it's been challenging to meld those two things together.

Jeffrey Pierce said...

Thank you for sharing! I'm actually working with a rescue sub-plot in the sequel to my first novel and this actually helped me expand the sub-plot in an area I hadn't previously considered taking it. Excellent post.

N. R. Williams said...

Wow, waking up to so many great comments is wonderful. By now I'm sure many of you have noticed that you may have more than one plot structure in your novel. I will post more on that another time.

Sounds good Misha.

Hi Dawn, your book has a unique rescue.

Thank you Nas.

L. Diane, anytime a character changes the basic plot would be one of the mind. All plots are either of the mind or of the body. More one that another time.

I haven't written a strictly rescue plot either Alex, though there is a rescue in my book, the main plot is quest.

I agree Joanne.

Hi Rula, more plot books are always a good thing. I'm glad I brought back a memory for you, good or bad, memories shape us.

Thank you, Writes.

I hear you, Michelle. But when we challenge ourselves and our characters we come out better.

Thanks everyone for the comments.

Carol Kilgore said...

This is one I haven't used. Yet. I'm loving this plot discussion.

Jules said...

I would never have put a round clothes rack in a rescue plot. Maybe a pair of over-sized overalls :)
Great insight Nancy!
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Michael Di Gesu said...

I have a great rescue plot/scene in my WIP for the second in the Amber series.

I look forward to your post on multi plots since this ms is in that structure.

Thanks for the great pointers Nancy.


N. R. Williams said...

I'm glad I could help, Jeffrey.

Thank you, Carol.

LOL Jules, you always make me smile.

Thank you Michael.

I'm thrilled that you all are enjoying this series.

Hannah Kincade said...

Maybe one day. I don't have an current plans for a rescue plot though. Love the plot series.

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you, Hannah.

The Golden Eagle said...

I've used rescue plots before--and it's definitely the journey part of the story where things take off. :)

Great post!

Dominic de Mattos said...

Thinking about it, my first novel is shaping up to be mostly rescue plot. This series is really interesting Nancy - thanks for sharing :)


N. R. Williams said...

Thank you, Golden and Dom. I'm glad your both working hard on your 'rescue plots,' and making time to stop by.

Colene Murphy said...

What a wonderful breakdown! Awesome stuff, Nancy!

Abby Minard said...

I have a small rescue subplot at the end of my ms. Great stuff here. And thanks for the book recommendation.

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you Colene and Abby. I'm glad you both find it helpful.

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Interesting post. I love reading (and writing) rescue plots.

Holly Ruggiero said...

Thanks for the information.

Holly Ruggiero said...

Thanks for the information.

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you Doralynn and Holly. Glad you could swing by my place.

Margo Benson said...

Great info, thanks, Nancy. This is good to remember!

Duncan D. Horne said...

I love writing and am currently working on a novel, so I'm thankful I came across your useful information here.

Noticed you've also signed up for the A-Z April challenge, as I have! Will look forward to that.

Check out my blog too at:

Melissa Bradley said...

Great post. I have a rescue plot of sorts that I am working through right now and this was very timely. Thank you.

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you, Margo.

Nice to meet you, Duncan. I'm glad you liked this post.

Hi Melissa, I am considering a rescue plot but haven't made up my mind yet.

Thanks everyone for dropping by.