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Retrograde Plotting ... by Toni Morrison Character vs. Self The psychological story Should Anna Karenina leave her husband and children for her lover? – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Retrograde%20Plotting

Retrograde Plotting
  • Perry Glasser

What Well Learn
  • Plot requires conflict
  • Characters are revealed by struggle
  • Story Structure
  • Stories proceed by causality
  • Climax is the confrontation of opposites
  • Retrograde Plotting

Plot Conflict
  • Character vs. Character
  • Batman vs. Joker Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed
  • Character vs. Physical Environment
  • To Build a Fire The Old Man and the Sea
  • Character vs. Social Environment
  • Beloved, by Toni Morrison
  • Character vs. Self
  • The psychological story
  • Should Anna Karenina leave her husband and
    children for her lover? Agonies of choice with an
    object both good and baddrugs, alcohol, guilty
    pleasures, anyone?

Characters Struggle
  • Nice people have nice lives - boring
  • Good characters in trouble whatever shall they
  • Write about trouble and willful characters
  • We learn what our characters value and what they
    are like when they perform under stress
  • Victims make few decisions the world decides for
    them and so they are less interesting characters.

  • Exposition
  • Social or personal stability is upset
  • Rising Action
  • Complications character(s) struggle to regain
  • Wants
  • Fears
  • Needs
  • Climax
  • Confrontation of the plots opposites
  • Falling Action
  • Resolution
  • Stability is restored

  • Because stability is upset, characters move
    through time and space.
  • Thats called motivation.
  • Because they have distinct personalities and
    talents, characters struggle in specific ways.
  • Thats called characterization
  • Because the challenges they confront dont
    immediately restore stability, the story moves
  • Thats called rising action
  • Because they persevere in fulfilling their
    motives, they eventually confront whatever
    opposes them.
  • Thats called climax
  • Because, because, because.

Climax and Confrontation
  • The climax is exciting because it epitomizes the
  • The climax is a necessary scene sometimes
    called payoff.
  • The issue must be in doubt with the antagonists
    each capable of victory, though one can be much
    an underdog.
  • If the issue is not in doubt, no drama is
    possible Godzilla crushes Bambi and Bambi is a

Retrograde Plotting
  • The writer turns the story upside down.
  • If I want my protagonist to leave the earth as
    North America splits in two, what will I need to
    invent to make my artistic vision plausible?
  • My protagonist will need certain cognitive
  • My protagonist will need a means to leave the
  • My protagonist will need certain physical
    characteristics to achieve that goal
  • I will need to invent a reason for North America
    to split.

A Final Thought
  • Your imagination supplies form.
  • N.A. is to split in two because
  • Terrorists are planting atomic weapons along a
    fault line can they be stopped?
  • An evil wizard is casting a mighty spell, and so
    we must leave by winged dragon for a better,
    purer place from which to fight Evil
  • An evil Emperor has constructed a Death Star and
    so we must leave by our rickety spacecraft to
    organize the intergalactic resistance.
  • Natural causes hastened by poor ecology. No one
    heeds our heroine, an independent rocket
    scientist(to be played by Jodie Foster)
  • Natural causes, but humankinds only hope is the
    mysterious widower, handsome Nobel prize-winning
    physicist, Lance Recluse, who needs to be
    summoned from his grief over the death of his
    wife. The fate of the world is in the hands of
    star-journalist, the young Belle Innocente as she
    journeys to his private laboratory on an isolated
    tropical island