Playing with the 7-Point Plot
1. A hero
rides in on
a white horse a dragon a griffin. Make it a chimera. Those look cooler. A lion’s body, a snake’s head for a tail, the head of a goat at the center of her… nevermind our hero couldn’t ride that. Let’s make it a pegasus. With a horn.
The hero has a leather outfit that creaks when the
chimera’s pegasus’s wings flap and a big sword with his initials carved on it. His name begins with S and is impossible to pronounce. He is an orphan. Or a prince raised by a peasant woman. Or a boy raised by a witch. Or a prince raised as a prince but he’d rather be a peasant. Maybe his big big sword is compensating for something. Maybe he is a cross-dressing, gender-bender boi who only wears leather because it reminds him of his daddy.
2. is in a context*
[*I didn’t answer this because I don’t know what this means. ]
3. and has a problem. He then tries to
discover his true daddy, but finds himself without the key he needs to open the dungeon. And he’s tired of the pegasus neighing down to him and the stink of horse hair and leather. So maybe he cuts off his fingers and uses that as a bone key. No, wait, he uses his boner as a key. It’s just a rubber one anyway, what does our hero boi care? Because he might want to use it later. So he says, “Hey you’re a pegasus, you’re not supposed to have a horn.” And he uses that as a key to turn the lock to let him out of the dungeon to go up the stairs to find the place that Jack built.
4. solve the problem, but makes it worse.
Except Jack isn’t there, because Jack was actually trapped in the body of the pegasus and is now changed back (because, well, don’t all magic spells end when your loved one cuts off your horn?), bleeding all over the dungeon floor.
5. Then he tries again, and makes it even worse, so
our hero hauls his bleeding beloved up the stairs out of the dungeon, step by step, slow by slow. And his armor isn’t creaking anymore because it’s sopped with blood and he doesn’t have a ride out of here anymore because he tried to kill the damn thing. And of course at the top of the stairs is his nemesis, his arch enemy, the witch who cursed him. Or the king who put him in a reed basket and sent him down the river. Or the stepmother who sent the hunstman after him. He/she/it holds up a beating heart, crushed between he/she/its fingers and says, “Choose.”
6. on the third try he must risk everything, and he either succeeds gloriously or fails miserably. This is where the plot is resolved, at the climax of the story.
[dramatic pause for effect]
Our hero, you know what our hero chooses, right? He wouldn’t be our hero if he didn’t choose his man, his dying pegasus who is no longer a pegasus, but his love, his love, his love.
“Take my heart,” our hero says, in his graveled and growled voice. He raises himself taller. His leathers show, impossibly, his muscles and yet his softness. His sword with his initials on it compensates for something. “For if I let my love die, what use is that to me?”
[dramatic pause for all the ladies and all of our bi and gay boys to gasp softly]
And so she/he/it crushes his heart, but Jack, dear silent hornless Jack, rushes in at the last second to knock our hero’s heart to safety. But our hero has a plan too, and brandishes the cut-off horn toward his enemy. And, well, when horn and heart meet, we all know what happens then, don’t we?
7. Finally, at the end of the story, a trustworthy neutral character steps forward and says the words that let the reader know that the story is really over, and what lesson he should take away from it. This is where the theme, as opposed to the plot, is resolved.
[Long pause while the storyteller runs around trying to find someone trustworthy. Finally a woman who looks an awful lot like your next-door neighbor comes to the stage. She’s wearing a nametag that says, “Author” and her voice trembles slightly as she begins to speak.]
Ladies and gentlemen, wondrous creatures of yore, I am here to tell you the story is really over. Thank you for coming. Please choose a theme from the gift table on your way out.
Postscript: I know that every poem in February was supposed to be about the Month of Letters in some way, shape or form, but I am thinking a lot about fiction today. And heroes. And riding off into the sunset. And then I pulled out this 7-Point Plot thingy that I got from Jay Lake and I let my disastrous brain take me somewhere weird.