Plotting: The Crucible

Another excellent post from Richie Billing.

Richie Billing

The crucible is one of the simplest and most effective plotting tools. At its core is the relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist. The conflict they share spawns plot. It illustrates wonderfully the interwoven relationship enjoyed between character and plot.

What is a crucible?

A crucible is an environment—emotional, physical, mental—that bonds two people, often taking the form of a relationship or location.

Moses Malevinsky in The Science of Playwriting (1925), said the crucible is ‘the pot, or the furnace, in which the drama is boiled, baked, stewed, or hibernated’. It is, he says, ‘one of the most important elements of [a drama’s] organic structure’.

06833.jpgJames N. Frey defines it as ‘the container that holds the characters together as things heat up; the bond that keeps them in conflict with one another.’

Without a crucible to contain the characters there can be no conflict, and without conflict, there is…

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