Thematic Plotting as Procedural Argument
Beginning: If...
(this set of characters are in this set of situations)

This stage of the thematic exploration or argument sets up the audience's expectations and involvement. Specific elements of this stage include:

  • An introduction of the narrator and whether that narrator is overt or invisible, reliable or unreliable or simply adding the heavy colouring of perspective.
  • An introduction of the focal characters and the opening moves to revealing their goals and priorities.
  • Building a sense of place and situation.
  • Developing the quality or genre of the narrative by selecting which traditional devices to apply.
Middle: then...
(these events are likely to unfold)

This stage demonstrates process through interaction of characters, states and events. Specific elements of this stage include:

  • Characters face challenges
    • Person vs. person
    • Person vs. nature
    • Person vs. society/the system
    • Person vs. self
    • Audience's initial impression of character vs. development of subsequent impressions.
  • Challenges create change
    • External
    • Internal.
End: resulting in...
(leading to these consequences)

This stage creates the sense of a whole and complete experience. Specific elements of this stage include:

  • Demonstration of process conclusion through:
    • Reward
    • Solution
    • Clarity
    • Growth
    • Death
    • Failure
    • Suggested incipience of entirely new action based upon previous action.

Copyright 1998 Katherine Phelps