...In which we learn that the elements of a strong plot are primal.
My two-year-old daughter Lucy told her first story yesterday. She sat her doll, Elizabeth, on her lap, wrapped her arm around the doll's shoulder and began:
"Once upon a time..." (My favorite opening line!)
There was a little girl named Elizabeth. (Ta-da! A main character for us to follow. General age established, too.)
(Insert much babbling which even a mother cannot interpret.)
Then she went to the marketplace. (A setting!)
Aladdin was there. (Ooh, a love interest.)
(Sorry, more babbling. We'll have to imagine whether or not they end up together, but I suspect there was a wedding and a long, pretty dress at some point.)
She had a castle. (A little late arrives the set-up. We see what Elizabeth's life was like before...)
Aunt Regina broke the castle! (Conflict! Loss! Poor homeless Elizabeth!)
But then Aunt Regina put the castle back together. (Resolution. A complete arc.)
Oh, and there was a monster. (Oh, yeah, there's supposed to be a bad guy...)
He had scary eyes. (...and we should make him as bad as possible.)
Hmm...We'll have to work on the logical arrangement of these elements when she's just a little older.