Monday, May 16, 2011

Plot: Temptation

Today we are skipping ahead in the book, 20 Master Plots and how to build them, to master plot; temptation. The underdog plot is recommended for later following the love plot. So, as per suggestion we are discussing temptation. I hope no one is disappointed.

Quote: To be tempted is to be induced or persuaded to do something that is either unwise, wrong or immoral. Happily or unhappily, depending on your point of view, life presents daily opportunities for us to be stupid, wrong and immoral. Ronald B. Tobias, 20 Master Plots and how to build them.

Act 1:
We are tempted. This means as a writer you must show the nature of the temptation, either small or huge, and you must show the character's reaction to the temptation. Here is the place for waffling. Back and forth thoughts on what to do. The bigger the temptation the more the character will be at odds with it.

Temptation is not the decision to water one's house plants. It is more like killing someone else's garden or a single tree that upsets the character and having them think about how to do this, fight the urge to do it, ask will I be caught, how to hide the evidence, so on and so forth. The character must rationalize their behavior following their acting on the temptation. After yielding to temptation, your character may deny internally and to others what they have done.

In our battle against temptation we often become obsessed by the thing we want. So too does your character. Show this obsession. In my epic fantasy, my antagonist, Renwyk, is driven by temptation and makes incredibly stupid decisions to prove he has a handle on things. He is obsessive in his jealousy of Prince Healden and wants everything he believes the prince has. Once Renwyk meets my protagonist, Missie, he becomes obsessed with her as well. This is one of many subplots, the main plot of my epic fantasy, The Treasures of Carmelidrium, is a quest plot. (To read about the quest plot and all other plots that I have already covered click on Plots under my previous post link at the bottom of this blog).

Act 2:
Quote: The effects of the temptation in the first dramatic phase reverberate through the second dramatic phase. (Act 2). The protagonist tries to deal with the effects of her behavior, but as is typical of moral stories, the more she tries to wriggle free from the burden of her sin, the more it oppresses her. Finally it reaches the point at which it is no longer bearable. Ronald B. Tobias, 20 Master Plots and how to build them.

Act 3:
The result of the temptation is forced open and the internal conflicts are resolved either for good (repentance) or for bad (insanity, imprisonment or death). Is your character sorry they poisoned the tree or hired someone to cut it down while the neighbor was on vacation? How did they atone for that? Did they buy the neighbor a new tree? Or did they begin to poison other trees and gardens until they were arrested and either sent to jail or locked away in a mental institution? Perhaps they took their own life by drinking the poison.

Quote: The temptation plot isn't about action as much as it's about character. It is an examination of motives, needs and impulse. The action supports the development of character, and as such, it's a plot of the mind rather than of the body. Ronald B. Tobias, 20 Master Plots and how to build them.

For an even further in-depth look at temptation and other plots purchase the book, 20 Master Plots and how to build them by Ronald B. Tobias from your local retailer or an online store. Or click on the link to Amazon's site and get it there.

Next week: Metamorphosis.

Are you planning a temptation plot or have you written one?



mooderino said...

Good one, I found that very interesting. Enjoying the series.
Moody Writing

Anupam karn said...

Nice blog!!

Emily White said...

Very interesting!

Joanne said...

What an interesting tool Temptation can be in illuminating a character, testing their resolve, their decision making, their character. I like the idea of that, and have used it in my writing.

N. R. Williams said...

Me too Moody, glad you enjoyed it.

Thank you, Anupam.

It is interesting, Emily.

Well put, Joanne.

Thank you all for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Siv Maria said...

Really a great post, I love it. My plots are always full of temptation just like my life :)

N. R. Williams said...

Me too Siv.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Haven't written a temptation story either.

N. R. Williams said...

Perhaps you will as a subplot, Alex.

The Golden Eagle said...

I've never written a temptation plot--although I just finished a book that's based on one! (Eona by Alison Goodman.)

The Words Crafter said...

One of my mc's is tempted to take revenge.....I never thought of it as a plot point. Wow, thanks!

Dominic de Mattos said...

Hi Nancy - long time no see!

I hadn't realised before but temptation is a pretty major plot thread running through my novel (which is oh so slowly coming along) Somehow identifying the plot elements helps to make sense of the structure.

Hope all is well with you :)


Latinalibations said...

Hi Nancy, Very interesting blog.I like the way you worked the concept of temptation in the act sequence. Am now following and will be back.


Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Nancy,

A terrific plot theme ... As always, I have enjoyed another one of your posts on master plots.

Thanks for sharing....

N. R. Williams said...

As we learn about plots we come to realize the possibilities, Golden.

You're welcome, Words.

Hi Dom, you're correct about making sense. It really helps.

Nice to meet you Theresa.

Hi Michael, I'm glad you are enjoying the series.

Thank you everyone for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

I love using motivation as a driver for the plot. I can introduce conflict and greed this way. Greed makes the world go round, in a bad way of course.

L'Aussie said...

A great series Nancy. I learnt a lot. Looks like a great book!


Romantic Friday Writers Second Challenge - LOST - Friday 20.

N. R. Williams said...

I agree Stephen, it is a great motivator.

I'm glad Denise.

Thank you both for dropping in.

Kari Marie said...

I really love this series Nancy! Thanks for doing it.

PS, I started reading your book. I'm enjoying it very much.