Leo's Angel Oak Tree

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Well, I'm back home in Texas. YAY! One thing I hate about traveling is my hubby always wants to do these crazy long drives at night.  It makes me nervous for two reasons. One, I get incredibly sleepy at night and he expects me to keep him awake. Two, the crazies come out at night which makes stopping for fuel a really scary experience. However, I see his point, too.  There is a lot less traffic at night and we make really good time.  So needless to say, we made it back safe and sound. Now aren't you glad because today I am revealing Cheryl Klein's three types of plots. 

In her book, Second Sight: An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults, Ms. Klein says that in all novels you can pretty much narrow down the plot into three categories. The mystery plot, the conflict plot, and the "lack" plot.

The mystery plot is a structure where the MC goes through a quest for an idea.
The conflict plot is a structure where there is a MC vs. MC or MC vs Idea.
The "lack" plot is a quest for fulfillment.  It is often internal.

You must have at least one action plot, says Ms. Klein. So which category best describes your central action plot?

Within one MS, you could have a combination of these plot types. That's where subplots come in.

A subplot is any change that is not central. Every novel should have at least one subplot to give depth and complexity to the novel.


1. List all of your plots and subplots in your novel.
2. Write out how each subplot  contributes to the central action plot.
3. Then ask yourself these questions:

Was the process easy or tortured?
Do any of your subplots serve the same purpose?
Is the connection mostly thematic or emotional? Can you strengthen the action connection? Or cut?

4. Narrow the plot structure to one central action/emotional plot and subplots that clearly contribute to the central plot.

Well, that's it.  I really connected with the "Justify Your Existence" portion of the webinar.  Not only has it helped me in my revision process, but I've also used this technique to critique some of my Beta BFFs manuscripts.  Totally helpful!

I hope you learned something new today about the different types of plots.  Stay tuned for tomorrow's gripping conclusion on this series: Plot Structure & Book Maps!

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