So I’m working on his horror story, which I don’t write very often, and I decided I could do worse than use the blueprint taught by the late horror writer Karl Largent, who claimed he cribbed it from Rod Serling. Karl also believed that JAWS was just about perfectly plotted and directed, which is why there are a certain number of fishing references in the blueprint.
- Commencement – Set the stage. Set the hook. Show protagonist in the everyday world so reader will identify with him/her. Make it intriguing and not too long.
- Quandary – Show the protagonist’s problem. Let protagonist vacillate between two or more possibilities. Karl Largent says the best plots present a conflict between two goods or two evils, not good against evil. He says that’s too easy.
- Commitment – Protagonist chooses a course of action.
- Transition – Move people around. Change the setting. Largent says he moves from where he first unfolds the story to where the action takes place. Ashore to shark boat.
- Encounter (action) alternating with Moratorium (reaction) – Let each encounter raise the stakes.
- Culmination – final encounter, protagonist versus antagonist. One must win and the other must lose.
- Consolation (optional)
I probably won’t follow the blueprint, because I tend to be a “this board looks like it might fit here” kind of builder, but it helps me think, for want of a better word.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Outline a plot using this blueprint. Let there be sharks.
Tony AcreeSeptember 9, 2013 at 11:45pm
Interesting post. I am intrigued you are writing a horror story. Perhaps my next book might be up your alley after all. Then again….. Good luck!
Marian AllenSeptember 10, 2013 at 8:21am
Thanks for the good wishes, Tony. It occurs to me that some of my fantasy verges on the horror. But I creep myself out sometimes. heh
Christopher JamesSeptember 10, 2013 at 10:53am
When I write, I kind of just wing it, you know? But I make an outline along the way.
Marian AllenSeptember 10, 2013 at 12:45pm
I’ve done that, too. Keeping track of what I’ve already done helps me shape and pace the rest of the story.
Chris VerstraeteSeptember 10, 2013 at 12:30pm
Crossing to the dark side, eh? Interesting post though the easy guideline: Monster eats/attacks person. The end. 🙂
Marian AllenSeptember 10, 2013 at 12:47pm