The 6 Steps to Create a Story Plot

When I first wrote a novella, I had only the vaguest of idea regarding how to plot. I typed away merrily, bled out the words and let the plot unwind by itself. This kind of writing, more commonly known as the pantser’s way, turned out to be an exhilarating method for me: there were no limits, no premonitions and it felt more like wanderlust in the world of writing. You know what else it was for me? A disaster.

I can painfully recollect the day I had to hit that Shift+Delete button so that my Recycle Bin would be spared of the pain inflicted by my crap. For when I re-read my work, it was more like trying to read a collection of haphazard thoughts strewn into a baseless mould of words.

I did try to salvage it, I even gave a pat on my back saying, “It’s not that bad.” But hey, eventually I realised that I had created a monster… and Frankenstein seemed to be more cute.

That’s when I realised that the revelation of the scenes in a novel should take place in a sequence of very well planned moves. This, in short, is defined as a Plot. I discovered that most of the awesome writers develop a plot before they write a novel. It helps to think more efficiently and write more expeditiously. Some of them use Index cards or Flashcards, others use notes- everyone have their own methods to develop a plot.

6 Steps to develop a Good Plot:

(as far as I have learned)

1. Idea

2. Characters

3. Conflict

4. Subplots

5. Climax

6. Compiling

1. The Idea

First off, develop a mind grabber. Select an issue or an idea that will hook the reader’s interest in the plot you are about to develop. The plot itself is built by the characters and the scenarios, but the main thing that grab’s a mind is the general idea or concept on which the novel is based.

2. The Characters

The next thing to do might be to assemble some great characters compatible with your idea. No man is perfect- no woman either- and same applies to your characters. It seems that every single person who talks about character development stresses out the necessity of having a flawed character. But he/she must be likeable as well. How to do that? Well, go figure out. I guess experimenting maybe of some help here. I think it is important that the reader must be able to identify the character in his/her level, that’s all that matters.

3. The Conflict

Bemuse your readers by adding some conflict. Once the reader is hooked to your idea, he indirectly has a curiosity to know what happens next. The reader also experiences a connection with the main character(if you have created an ideal one). Always remember- life is not easy. If it’s easy for you, it shouldn’t be easy for the main character. Introduce conflicts into your novel in the form of people and events- conflict is the only way to make the reader’s anticipation grow.

4. The Subplot

Don’t forget the spice- subplots. Subplots are things that go side by side with the main plot. The character has a main objective that leads to the climax, but it’s life- everything doesn’t go in a one-way. There are many aspects in life- work, family, friends, romance,etc- all of this could be, rather should be, linked to the main plot. It’s the subplots that play major role in the liveliness of the novel as a whole.

5. The Climax

Always plan the climax beforehand- at least during the plotting process. Some authors have the habit of ‘let the characters decide how it ends’, while it is not the smartest thing to do- to actually delegate the task of writing the climax to a fictional character you created- it’s not uncommon to get a better climax while an author works on the climax.
But make sure that even though you suspend the climax, you have an idea of how the story ends. Unless you love large scale editing and groggy confusions. Also check whether the climax fulfills these two criteria: one, it must not cheat the reader (don’t make the reader feel he/she was a jackass all the time) and two, it must be credible.

6. The Compiling

This is the final job. After you have decided how the story should end, you need to sharpen up the blunt edges, knot together the subplots and main plot, and of course, bundle up various events in an interesting manner.

That’s it, we’re done with a workable plot. Do you have anything to add? Please do write it out in the comments section. I’d love to hear them.

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