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  • Writer's pictureSheila R. Lamb

Premise, Plot and Theme

One of my favorite agent blogs recently posted about plot…how to discern plot from theme from a hook.

I broke out into a cold sweat as I read, memories of AP English returning to haunt me. My mind froze. I was one of those kids who said, “Why can’t we read the story [or poem] for enjoyment? Why do we have to analyze every single detail?” Basically, I just wanted to sit in the back row and read, uninterrupted.

I gritted my teeth at the kids in the front row (you know who you are, Mrs. Blauvelt’s class of ’89) who raised their hands – ooh! ooh! pick me! pick me! I know exactly what Dylan Thomas meant when he wrote In the White Giant’s Thigh. Ooh! Ooh! Pick me! Pick me! I know the answer to symbolism in Tess of the D’Ubervilles.

In the back row, I had finished reading the whole book. Yeah, ok. I needed a little attitude adjustment.

Of course, my novels have a plot. I wasn’t completely zoned out in English class. Beginning, middle, end. Conflict. Rising action, climax, falling action, resolution. They also have characters — strong ones, I might add. So here it is. I will tell you the plot – a short version. Right here. Right now.

As soon as I find a way to write it in a few sentences or less.

Fiery Arrow:

Premise (needs serious work):

Brigid, a gifted druid, must defend Ireland aginst the new Christian religion while facing her past, and her love, for the Christian leader, Patricius.

Plot (short version):

Brigid, a goddess in a past life, reincarnates to become a gifted druid who must fight the new religion of Christianity so the ancient gods of Ireland can survive. Through both lives, she has been in love with Patricius, believing he is the one who will help her save the old gods of Ireland. She struggles to keep her past life and love for Patricius a secret from Maithghean, an evil arch-druid who wants to control her powers.

Themes: Survival, Love, Social Class

Eh. I should have paid more attention in English class. Is anyone grading this?


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