I love fiction plotting; it’s huge fun. You’re putting all the elements together which you’ll turn into an amazing short story, novella, or novel.
You’re in charge. Once you’ve decided on the elements, you can write with confidence. Of course, you’ll change some of the elements while writing. That’s the fun of fiction — your characters are coming alive.
Let’s look at the elements of plotting fiction.
Create your nine elements of a successful plot
- A setting
- Locations within that setting
- A main character, and his opposition: two conflicted characters (they’re imperfect people, they have inner obstacles)
- A story question/ challenge
- The kickoff (an event that kickstarts your story)
- The point of no return: your character MUST move forward
- The horror: your main character’s lowest point
- The battle: the final face-off between your main character and his opposition
- Ephipany: “I’ve changed, and everything was worth it” — your main character achieves his goal. All is resolved.
Start with the setting — and genre
You’ll notice that our first element is Setting. That’s a gentle way of nudging you into the realization that you need to choose a genre.
Pantser? Start with elements 1, 2, and 3
By nature I’m a pantser… That is, I prefer to wing the plot. I bore myself (and readers) silly when I force myself to work out a complete plot from go to whoa.
I can do it — in the days when I wrote for traditional publishers, I had to do it. The actual novel’s plot however ended up much, much different from the outline.
So if you’re a pantser like me, nail down the first three elements and start writing. With your first draft completed, you can create an outline to ensure you’ve included the other elements.
Plotter? Go for it — start plotting
If you prefer to plot, plot away. Add some life and magic to the elements. Shade your characters… 🙂
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Updated: January 17, 2018
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