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Plot: Familial Competition

Feuding families are often the basis for many other plots as they provide an easy personal conflict and motivation for characters. You can check out the other plot scenarios here.

  • One family wishes to achieve the same goal as another family.

Because you’re dealing with groups of characters, there is plenty of space to work with. This however, does mean that you’re often dealing with larger casts of characters and is something to be aware of when tackling this as a plot scenario.

In regards to the goal remember that familial competition might also include attempting to destroy the other family. Alternately, one family may only be trying to stop the other family from achieving their goal by any means necessary.

Because of the scale of the conflict, this particular scenario works best as a minor plot, working in the background. It can lend flavor to political intrigues, forbidden loves and love triangles, or even just as character backstories to help explain the dynamic between particular characters.

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Plot: Obtainment

Obtainment as a plot scenario is related to daring enterprise, however unlike daring enterprise where the main focus is retrieval of that object, obtainment focuses heavily on why each character wants this particular item. You can check out all of the plot scenarios here.

  • A mediator negotiates between a solicitor and an adversary over a desired object.

Notice here that there are four major roles to fill in. Also note that depending on how you play out your obtainment plot, you may not need a mediator at all. Similarly, the object in question might not be an object at all, but rather the same goal–say a job position, or the love of a particular person. The trick with that is only one person can ultimately have that desired thing.

Regardless of whether it’s a main or minor plot, obtainment may not play particularly well with McGuffin-styled items. That is, the reason why this particular thing is so important and or desirable holds a lot of support, so simply having an item there to fill in the gap may not work. In this case, you might have some room to work symbolism into your plot.

Posted in Stories, writing

Plot: Abduction

One plot scenario that definitely relies on character motivations is the abduction plot. Whether a main plot or a minor plot, motivations here are key to making this particular scenario work smoothly. You can find some of the other plot scenarios here.

  • A captor takes the abductee away from safety.

An interesting thing to note about the roles here: your ‘safety’ may be a person, place or thing. In some cases it might take the form of someone trying to rescue the abductee. It could also be a place, such as the location your abductee was taken from, or the location your abductee is trying to get in order to get help from. As a thing, it also might be what allows your abductee to finally break free or find themselves help. There are of course, choices of where to place your point of view character. Are they the abductee, seeking to escape? Or do they need to rescue the abducted? Perhaps they’re they captor themselves, with their own very good reasons for doing what they do.

As I mentioned, regardless of major or minor plot, the motivations here are key. What reason does your captor have for taking this person specifically? What makes the abductee so important that any person filling in the role of rescuer is willing to go the lengths they need to to get the abductee back? And, what reasons does your abductee have for fighting your captor? What reasons might they have for aiding them?

Posted in Stories, writing

Plot: Daring Enterprise

The daring enterprise plot is a classic and a common staple of many adventure stories and even a few fantasy epics as well. While versatile in genres, it is also well-suited to plot-driven stories. You can check out some of the other plot scenarios here.

  • A leader overpowers an adversary in order to take an object.

Although there’s not a lot of space for characters, their roles within this plot are fairly clear cut which makes it ideal for plot-driven stories. As a leader the character’s goal is to get a hold of the object. As an adversary, the goal is to protect the object and keep it out of the other’s hands.

As a main plot, this particular scenario focuses heavily on the act of overpowering and the steps taken to get that object. In this case, the object might be little more than a McGuffin used to help drive conflict.

When used as a minor plot however, it can take a back seat to character development and becomes more of a background objective for a character in their arc. This forces the object to have a very good reason for being desirable, and often forces your characters to have a deeper motivation for getting into a conflict with their adversary.

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Plot: Revolt

Revolt as a plot is a common staple of dealing with tyrannical powers. It’s a staple of epics because it provides a broad space to work in. You can check out some of the other plot scenarios here.

  • A cruel power is plotted against by the revolutionary.

The set-up for the revolt plot gives a lot of room to play with. Not only does it give you the option to use it as a plot- or character-driven situation, but also has plenty of room for multiple characters. The cruel power is often a dictator or tyrant, but there is little reason why you can’t use an entire system as the cruel power. The revolutionary might indeed be your freedom fighters and rebels, or it might only be a single character who dares to stand up and make a change.

As a plot-driven situation you can afford a few more static characters. The focus should be on the things the revolutionary does to try and overthrow the power, and how the power in question reacts.

As a character-driven scenario, a revolt plot provides a tense and conflict-rich area to test your characters. Think not just about about the major goals here, but about the smaller ones each character brings to the table and how those goals conflict and interfere with each other.