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sunandshadow

Plot diagram, please evaluate

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Dunno if anyone remembers that I have been off-and-on working on a how-to-write book, but this diagram is for the book, I would love some feedback about whether anything in it seems confusing, wrong, or missing. [smile]

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Bystander's goals.

Primary Protagonist's secondary goals.

Primary Antagonist's primary/secondary goals.

Fear/Threat/Desire for protag/antag bystanders.

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Quote:
Original post by Elhrrah
Bystander's goals.

Primary Protagonist's secondary goals.

Primary Antagonist's primary/secondary goals.

Fear/Threat/Desire for protag/antag bystanders.


Thanks for responding. :) Hmm, interesting. For Bystanders in general, I would say that although they do have goals, fears, threats, and desires, these should be created a step later in the main plot because they exist to support the main plot or provide humor. Probably the same applies to secondary goals of any character.

But the Antagonist's goal, that's a thornier issue. What the antagonist's goal is varies a lot - he may want the protagonist dead, he may want power or wealth or his love interest which may or may not be the protagonist's love interest or the protagonist, he may want the end of the world, or what if the antagonist is a mountain or weather, do those really have goals? o.O Sometimes the protagonist's and antagonist's goals are directly opposed but sometimes they are only tangentially so. Makes it quite confusing how to visually represent it. But great point, I'll have to ponder over it more, and you gave me the idea for making layered diagrams showing different steps in the development process.

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Why are avoidance and denial/resolve to change different? Maybe it's just me but on an already somewhat crammed graph (from the opinion of someone who doesn't do much writing or graph-making), avoidance seems like it would just be a special case of denial/resolve to change desire.

Cheers
-Scott

[edit] Sorry. And what is "tester"?

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Original post by popsoftheyear
Why are avoidance and denial/resolve to change different? Maybe it's just me but on an already somewhat crammed graph (from the opinion of someone who doesn't do much writing or graph-making), avoidance seems like it would just be a special case of denial/resolve to change desire.

Thanks for responding! [smile] I pondered that one a bit while making the diagram, but I intended avoidance to mean a roundabout way of trying to get to the goal but avoiding all conflict; so avoidance would the the protag somewhat closer to the goal but probably trapped or stuck, while denial would take the character toward a false goal and farther away from the true goal.

Quote:
And what is "tester"?


A Tester is like a threshold guardian, a mentor, a fairy godmother, any character who is capable of both punishing and rewarding the protagonist depending on whether the protag demonstrates a good character trait, usually by passing a test, or demonstrates a character flaw/fails a test. Also a tester can bee a minor villain who joins the protag's side after being defeated, or who gives up a useful treasure to the protag after being defeated.

This info would be included in the chapter that the diagram (soon to become a series of diagrams) will go with. [smile]

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It looks too confusing to me: an explosion of colour, arrows and labels. You've used the same font (both typeface and size) for all the labels, so it's hard to see what label goes where.

I'd keep the same typeface for each label, but play around with the font size, bolding and italics and positioning of the labels to make it clearer. Maybe also using boxes or lines, or incorporating the labels into the arrows.

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Its kinda confusing. I don't even know where to start with the diagram or where it even ends. Also the the bystanders arrows aren't that clear.

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Original post by Shadowwoelf
Its kinda confusing. I don't even know where to start with the diagram or where it even ends. Also the the bystanders arrows aren't that clear.


What do you mean starts or ends? It doesn't start or end. It's a vector map, not a flowchart. Each arrow represents movement from the beginning of the story toward its ending, the preferred ending being the pink X marked goal. Assorted factors are pushing the protagonist both toward it and away from it. You look at the diagram by picking as a focus whatever you are most interested in at the moment - your protagonist and his motivations? Your story's goal and the requirements guarding it? What factors you might use to move your protagonist toward or away from a false goal?

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Quote:
Original post by Trapper Zoid
It looks too confusing to me: an explosion of colour, arrows and labels. You've used the same font (both typeface and size) for all the labels, so it's hard to see what label goes where.

I'd keep the same typeface for each label, but play around with the font size, bolding and italics and positioning of the labels to make it clearer. Maybe also using boxes or lines, or incorporating the labels into the arrows.


Yeah, more formatting may help clarity.

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Did you add more arrows to the bystanders while I was gone? Another thought... this kind of reminds me of the flow of code in a 20 yr old code base I have to work with daily. When it gets this interdependant (code flow), as I'm sure you're probably aware of, perhaps rethinking the whole design is in order (but it can still have the same beginning and end results in mind).

So back to how-to-writing-world...

Now I'm not saying the ideas behind it all is bad, but maybe just some simplifications like splitting this off into a couple graphs. I know you spoke of layered graphs, but I mean more along the lines of purpose. For instance, maybe have one chart to show which characters can affect which other characters, and in what way they affect them (which you have obviously done). But then in a separate graph, each characters choices might be illustrated, or perhaps the different paths that lead to a goal, whether it be the good goal or an "off" goal.

To one that might buy a book on "how to write" (ie, someone who can't write very well), it just seems confusing, almost obfuscated. Anyway good luck it looks quite interesting thus far!

Cheers
-Scott

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