Monday, April 23, 2007

Algis Budrys Gets to the Point

Looking back on your career, what do you believe has been your biggest contribution to SF literature?

Budrys: The teaching. I write, as I said, very well, and I admire myself no end. But I don't write much; I've only written something like 10 books in my life. They're good books, and there are still people who come up to me and say, "Gee, that was a good book." But I don't think that's anywhere near as enduring as the teaching. I've got, or I think I've got, probably a thousand people who have learned from me. And that's really something!
--from a 2001 Science Fiction Weekly Interview

Because it came up in the article linked in the previous post (on Doctorow's tips), I looked up Algis Budrys' seven-point plot structure. Budrys, a name that may be familiar to SF fans, is the author of WHO?, ROGUE MOON, and THE FALLING TORCH, also wrote WRITING TO THE POINT, the non-fiction book where his seven points are delineated and expounded upon:

1. a character
2 in a context
3. has a problem
4 s/he tries to solve the problem
5 and fails — tries and fails twice more, stakes escalating
6. victory or death
7. validation (denouement)

The first three points go in the beginning. Four through 6 make up the middle. And 7 is the ending section.

1 comment:

Mike Duran said...

I love this seven point plot structure, Mir. Not only am I addicted to bullet point-type clarity, for some reason, I can't see how writers can function without it. It's probably why plotting takes me so long and Seat Of The Pants writers make me so sick.