what element should i use?

by dominique
(mcallen tx us.)

Question: During which time in the plot should you add elements to intensify the problem?

Answer The short answer to this would be "act 2," which is the complication phase in traditional plot structure.

However, it is probably more helpful to think about the entire story up to the climax as a process of growing tension. This is brought about by alternating elements such as Requirements, Forewarnings, Preconditions, and Prerequisites.

As each Requirement is met, the reader gets excited because he can see the characters are making progress towards achieving the Story Goal.

But then a Forewarning appears, which raises the fear that the Consequence will occur before the Goal can be achieved.

When Prerequisites appear, they raise the reader's hopes, because they make it easier for the characters to meet the Requirements.

But when Preconditions appear, they add to the fear, because they make it harder for the characters avoid the Consequence.

If you space these elements out, they create an emotional roller coaster consisting of ups and downs, rising hope and rising fear. The climax is the top of the roller coaster hill, when hope and fear are at their highest.

Costs and Dividends contribute another dimension to the plot, with Costs testing the characters' resolve and dividends bringing them little rewards. It's a carrot and stick effect.

If you haven't read the article on the basic plot elements, here's the link for more details...


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