SPECIAL NOTE: I'll be at Seekerville all day today.
Sandra is my host.
Her editor waits for her manuscript. The ending doesn't work. She signs up for a consultation and generously shares her experience of the writer's side of a plot consultation AND she allows me permission to talk about her work in the post.
Plot tips abound.
In celebration of Seekerville's 5th birthday bash, Sandra is giving away a 1-hour free plot consultation to one lucky commenter.
In keeping with the celebration, I'm offering your choice of:
1) The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
2) The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
to 3 lucky commenters today.
The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing . Available for pre-order now. Ships 12/12.
More Plot Tips:
The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
1) Plot your story step-by-step with the help of
2) Read The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3) Watch the Plot Series: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay? on YouTube. Scroll down on the left of this post for a directory of all the steps to the series. 27-step tutorial on Youtube
4) Watch the Monday Morning Plot Book Group Series on YouTube. Scroll down on the right of this post for a directory the book examples and plot elements discussed.
For additional tips and information about the Universal Story and plotting a novel, memoir or screenplay, visit:Blockbuster Plots for Writers
Plot Whisperer on Facebook
Plot Whisperer on Twitter
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is a character-driven memoir and motion picture of the same name.
In this story, the protagonist (I use the term character and protagonist even with a memoirist in order to make the reference less personal and to remind memoir writers to develop their character to show change and transformation) attempts to achieve her goals (outlined below). She also, on a much deeper level, undertakes an intensive spiritual investigation. As a seeker, her focus is on the search for Truth or meaning.
The book is more prose writing than in scene, in that the author spends lots of time describing Italy and India and Bali, the three places where the three segments of the book unfold. In much of the book, the author also discusses her thoughts. Because of the subjects she described ~~ the history of meditation, descriptions of the Ashram, and the like ~~ are fascinating and extremely well-written, and most readers like to learn something new through reading, many will not object to the telling nature of much of the narrative.
When Gilbert does write in scene, the descriptions and discussions have depth and impact. However, the dramatic action, when in evidence, is secondary. Her character emotional development and search for resolution and God over time carries the significance.
A thematic significance statement for Eat Pray Love could be:
A spiritual journey is challenging but, when undertaken with passion, and dedication, can transform a person enough to overcome hurt and love again.
The Beginning (1/4)
The Beginning of Eat Pray Love functions in an introductory mode as all good Beginnings do. The protagonist’s dramatic action goals are clearly outlined: 1) to spend one-third of the story in Italy learning the language, 2) one-third on her Guru’s Ashram in India in meditation, and 3) one-third in Indonesia with a medicine man. Her character emotional development goals are clearly implied: 1) undergo intensive self-inquiry, 2) recover from her recent divorce, and 3) find balance and spirituality in her life.
The Beginning of the story takes place in Italy with a goal of learning Italian. This section functions on a sensory level with lots of eating great bread and pastries, drinking wine, and meeting terrific men. Of the three sections, Italy is the least challenging for the author, which is fine because this is where we find out her issues: she has had a spiritual crisis, which ended in a divorce and followed by an unfulfilling relationship.
In the Beginning, and into the Middle of the memoir, the protagonist freely shows her flawed self, which, at times, comes across neurotic enough that if her writing were not so compelling, the reader might not stay with her. However, the more flawed the character, the greater the possibility in the final transformation.
The Middle (1/2)
In the Middle third, the protagonist travels to her Guru’s Ashram in India and spends her time there mostly in meditation. When she is in scene in this section, it is often with Richard from Texas who is a hoot and a compassionate mentor.
The more she has to devote to meditation, the more frustrated she becomes, which is an effective means of revealing more and more of the depth of who this person truly is. Take note: Although the project only covers one year in her life and the author has several memories of the past, there are only a couple of instances where she actually goes into a flashback.
The Middle is the territory of the antagonists and the bulk of this character’s antagonism comes from her own mind. She can’t concentrate. She can’t meditate. She can’t let go of the past. She engages in useless longings.
In her search for spirituality, “you revert from what attracts you and swim toward that which is difficult.” The more difficult her journey becomes, the more flawed we see her character. Still, as challenged as she becomes,