No plot, no story – so how do you create a plot?
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The first and most important aspect of a plot is, of course, the germ. You have to have an idea. Without it, there can be no story. So, pre-supposing you have a wonderful light going off in your head here are ways to get you from point A (the beginning) to point Z (the end).
- Take your idea and start at the end. Think about what the end of the story will be and work your way backwards. How does Hero or Heroine get to where they end up? This is called a reverse outline.
- Key Moments – these are spikes in your plot where the suspense is heightened and things are going terribly wrong for the protagonist. You can have between five and ten of these for a novel, depending on how long your manuscript is. Write down the worst things that can possibly happen. The worse – the better. Shove those poor characters into the worst situations they can get into and then have them have the toughest time getting out.
- Dot jot the beginning, middle and end. This only works if you already have a pretty good idea what your story is about. If you can set these three crucial parts in place, you’ll be able to figure out what hot spots your characters can get into. The beginning is your inciting incident, the middle is the escalating conflict and the end is the climax of the story.
- Mind maps are a great way to brainstorm. Draw a circle in the middle of a blank sheet and shoot lines randomly out of it. In the center, mark your inciting incident and then brainstorm what horrible situations you can stick your unsuspecting characters in to. Have no mercy.
- Let your characters talk to you. They can and will if you take the time to listen.
- Write a synopsis. Like the beginning, middle and end – this only works if you know the complete arc of your story.