How to Plot Your Story
So, you have written the first pages of a manuscript. Maybe the idea came from a prompt or something that just popped into your head. But, now you find yourself dead in the proverbial waters, stuck and not knowing how to proceed further. What do you do to get pass that road block?
Answer: Create a Plot Outline.
You already have a beginning. Now, give your story an end – decide how you want it to conclude. Once you have done that, the fun stuff really begins as you decide how your character or characters are going to get from the beginning of your story (point A) – to the end of your story (point Z).
Start by asking yourself these questions.
Are my character or characters going to find or enlist help along the way? Will there be some villain to thwart the effort? Is there a brush with death or a circumstance that threatens. Will someone be sacrificed in a tragic and gut wrenching manner to allow other characters to reach their end goal? Does someone discover something about themselves – a special quality to their character they didn’t know they had? Is there a lesson that is learned?
Are the creative juices flowing yet? Are you starting to see a path open up before you? If so, jot these ideas down. They are the road markers that will help move your story along.
Another way to help move things along is to define your characters. Giving them personality traits helps you establish how they will behave in any given circumstance. Are they sneaky, sly, or honest to a fault. Is one damaged by a tough childhood and another eccentric?
Was my explanation not enough?
Here are a few links to help better explain Plot Outlines
Remember that you do not have to rigidly follow your outline. It is only meant to be a tool to help you envision how your story is to unfold. There is nothing wrong with changing it up along the way. In fact, you must if the story’s development dictates it. They do have a tendency to take on a life of their own.
Until Thursday, Write On!
~ K. L. Parry