y aim with this short post is to steer you in the right direction when it comes to creating plot, and to help you think practically about your plot outline. This is whether you are writing a short story, a screenplay or a novel.
I have now written around a dozen books and thousands of short stories, news stories, magazine features and other articles. The principle is always the same. If you plan your plot well from the outset, your house of words is likely to be strong.
1. Map out the beginning, middle and end. Ask yourself: where do I want to end up with the story? Consider writing the end first to give you a destination. You can change it later.
2. Work out what your story turns on? There are just SO MANY options here. Your story might turn on a central point of conflict, intrigue or interest. It could be a big event, a surprise, or a conversation. How about a betrayal, catastrophe or discovery? Novels often have a number of these as part of the plot. I love throwing cliff-hangers into the ends of my chapters and books.
3. Get your plot down as a flowchart or series of headings. These should describe the course of your story. Dickens did this. I do this with the 5fingers books. If you try to imagine it as a mountain range, it will have a number of valleys and peaks. Break your story into essential scenes. Give your characters physical story ‘goals’ such as breaking free or solving a problem.
Go, create excellent plots, my friends. I believe in you! JRx
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Joshua Raven, novelist. Read about my writing and my life here. And have you discovered 5fingers yet?