Developing Your Story
Part Two: The Plot of Your Story
The plot of your story is probably the most important thing in writing
a story. You should have some hook that will make the reader not
want to stop and will make them re-read the story over and over again.
The key to a good plot is good organization of the information, events
and arrangement of materials. If your desk is disorganized, your
story will be disorganized. I can guarantee you that much.
Know thy topic. If you aren't familiar with a particular subject,
read up on it. Research it. If you don't have time, then you probably
shouldn't be writing about it. Write what you know. If you
don't know, then you probably shouldn't tackle something like that.
The Makings of a Plot
There are two different types of plot structures.
The Journey - this is the simplier of the two.
Your hero (main character) has a problem to solve
The Contest - Generally between two opponents
Typically the one to end the problem
Difficulties in the journey
The one that does most of the work
There are two schematics to plot structure:
Each move gives one side or the other an edge
Other side makes a counter move
Moves frequently in ignorance of each other
Each side may have an idea of the sort of move that the opposition is likely
to make in a situation
In effect, the author knows everything that the characters are going to
find out. The plot will be the process of uncovering little bits
of information utnil the whole picture is revealed.
The visible one -- which the reader sees
The invisible one -- which only the author knows
The opening of a scene establishes the problem. The problem is what
someone is seeking a solution for. It could be a scene in which several
people are looking for the solution or several different solutions.
This desire creates forward motion. Forward motion is what moves
The bulk of the scene is the middle part:
The difference between the construction of the book and the scene construction
is that the setup of the characters. The first one or two takes takes
place in previous chapters and that resolve is not just an end, it is a
launching pad for a new problem.
Effort to resolve
Overcome the obstacles
Solve the problem
Developing a Plot Outline
What steps should you follow when creating your plot outline.
(First rule of writing and I personally never followed until just recently
is to WRITE AN OUTLINE or something very similar to it.) Answer the
As you answer any of these questions, you will outline the plot of your
What event or events lead the main character to a conflict?
What initial conflict does he or she encounter?
Is the conflict internal or external?
Which character is right and which character is wrong? Or mistaken? Does
that change during the story?
What are the results of the initial conflict?
How does this conflict build to additional, more complicated conflicts?
What finally brings the conflict to it's greatest intensity? A king
of boiling point.
What is the climax?
What happens as a result of the climax?
What is the end result? Does the main character make a major change?
If so, what makes him or her change? Or is the influence of other
characters? In other words, what is the resolution?
Story events should be chronologial order, showing a cause/effect relationship.
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This page was created on May 12, 1999.
This page was last updated on: May 25, 1999
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