June 16, 2016

Tips for Writing a Plot


"(A relationship) is like a shark, it has to constantly move forward or it dies." -Woody Allen

Keep things moving
There's no reason for the plot to stop or to slow down. Due to advice in my revision class, when writing a scene, the scene should be the most interesting day in the character's life. Therefore, the plot should not withdraw the reader from the story. When asking for feedback, be sure to ask your peers if there were any point they were taken out of the story.
*This does not apply to scene that you believe need to be slowed down due to the scene's significance or its impact on the rest of the story. 

Characters choices have clear consequences
Either two undeniable good options, or choosing between the lesser of two evils. Every time your character acts, the following scene should be impacted and every choice has a clear effect.

Keep plot logical
Regardless of the genre you're writing, the reader should be able to follow from beginning to end and everything makes sense. By the end, there should be no loose ends and everything should be tied logically to each other. The more believable the plot it, the stronger the story. (This ties in with my point able keeping the plot moving and whether or not readers are drawn out of the plot.)

Two "Plots": Internal Conflict vs. External Conflict
The most effective stories I have read have been the ones where a character is very obviously facing an outer conflict:
Man vs. Nature
Man vs. Man
Man vs. Environment
While this is happening, the protagonist will also be battling an inner conflict, commonly referred to as Man vs, Self. This is where the protagonist will be battling something internal, commonly the theme, of the story. 
Both conflicts are necessary to the story because they add an extra layer for the reader to invest themselves in and add more depth to your characters.

Choice  Effect  Choice  Effect  Choice  Effect

Five Step Plot
Exposition: Necessary backstory
Rising Action: Meaty (I hate that word) build-up to climax
Climax: Turning point
Falling Action: How things unfold
Conclusion: Normal life, but something is different

Seven Basic Needs
Hero
Hero's character flaw
Enabling circumstances: Place they're stuck in their flaw
Opponent
Ally
Life changing event

Plot Checklist
Mystery: Tease with just enough
Empowerment: Both sides have options
Surprise: Sufficient complexity
Sympathy: Resonates with reader
Insight: Human nature
Universality: Relates to reader
High stakes: Outcome matters



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