Friday, October 3, 2014

Plot Tips from Bob the Builder

My two youngest (4 and 2) are watching the Pet's Corner episode of Bob the Builder. And the set-up for the conflict is perfect.

Opening scene: Bob and his gang are supposed to build a pet's corner (a zoo for small animals) in the zoo. The details of the building are discussed (like concrete floors and why they're needed). The animals are coming from Farmer Pickles.

Set-up 1: Introduction of the conflict item during dialogue: the chinchilla.

Set-up 2: Farmer Pickles and Spud the scarecrow have a very difficult time trying to catch Charley the Chinchilla.
Spud isn't supposed to help deliver the animals (he always gets into trouble), but he gets to go as well.

Set-Up 3: Bob runs out of chicken wire. Wendy goes to the yard to get some. But there isn't any chicken wire there. They go to JJ's to buy some.

Conflict 1: The animals get delivered to Bob, but Bob isn't ready for them. Bob tells Spud and Travis the tractor
to take them to the yard where Wendy is (only Wendy isn't there anymore).

Set-up 4: Spud decides to leave the animals at the yard even though Wendy isn't there and even though Travis doesn't think it is a good idea. Spud and Travis leave to get straw.

Set-up 5: The animals escape and Pilchard the cat helps to collect all the animals. We see Charley get away.

Conflict 2: Wendy returns to the park with the chicken wire. Bob asks about the animals. Wendy and Bob realize that there is a potential problem and they head to the yard. Pilchard has all the animals rounded up. They put the animals into the new little zoo.

Climax: The man in charge comes by to check on everything and discovers Charley is missing.

Resolution: They all search for Charley. Pilchard finds Charley back at the yard and returns him to the park.

What I love is that we see how difficult it is to keep control of Charley before he actually escapes in the yard and gets lost. We also see that Pilchard can control the animals before he finds Charley, making Pilchard's rescue of Charley believable. It is so important in all of our writing to introduce the characters or conflicts on a small scale so that when the reader is presented with something big, it is believable.

Watch Charley's set-up here:

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