Of all the elements of a good story, the plot is possibly one of the most important ones. Even if your story has excellent characters, readers are likely to stop reading your book if they can spot obvious holes in the plot or the entire ending by the time they reach the third chapter.
How do you insert plot twists into your writing, and how can you know where your story is going? Planning is the key.
If you’re writing a novel or story, always plan out your plot before you start writing your story down. This can help you to see plot developments at a mile instead of messing around in the dark with no idea what happens next.
Here’s how to plan your plot to ensure that you write better fiction with more punch.
Why Plan Your Plot?
Planning helps a writer to know where their story is going before they start off. This is useful because it avoids getting halfway into a story and abandoning it – most abandoned stories are left behind because writers hit a block when they aren’t sure where to take the plot, and the use of a proper outline can help you to avoid this common issue.
Plan your plot because it helps you as a writer to have direction for your story – and direction is most of the hard parts of your story out of the way.
Bulleted Plot Points
When working out the plot for your story, it can help to write down important plot points as bullets. This way, you can move bullets around where things fit better, or just delete a specific plot point that doesn’t fit. It’s much easier to do it this way during the outlining stage than to leave it for later when you’ve already written 20, 000 words of text in a direction you’d like to change.
When you finally write your story down you can start to split up these bulleted plot points by scene or chapter: Then, start writing it.
Avoid the Obvious
Some plot points are very obvious ones: Writers might not see this while they’re actively writing their story, but it often becomes more obvious when you’ve outlined your plot properly. When you see your chapters and plot points at a glance, it’s easier for a writer to go back and be able to note, “Oh, I don’t think this works.”
Write Down Timelines
Timelines are one of the most important things to your plot. They help to answer the question of what happens when in your story. Write these down on a separate list, or on your overall story outline – and make sure that you write down any important times and dates here. Writing down timelines like this makes it a lot easier for you as a writer to refer back to this during the later stages (usually editing) to see where things need to change or which order things happened.
What Happens – And Why?
Plotting your story is the time to ask what happens in the context of your plot and why it happens. Every action is said to have a reaction, and you should keep this in mind while you’re putting together your story’s plot.
The hows and whys of how your characters react to things that happen and how they react to one another are some of the most essential building blocks for coming up with a damn good story that you can be proud of.
Plotting Through Keywords
The great thing about a plot is that you have the freedom to do it in any form that you choose. Do you prefer pasting pages to your wall in a serial killer-esque manner to come up with a plot instead? Go for it: It’s your story!