Plots- Covering Just The Tip Of The Iceberg
A Lesson by Feary
Plots! What is it, really? And most importantly, how do you write it? This will answer all of your questions.
A plot is something in your story that makes your story whole. It is one event after another. Now you know what a plot is. But, mwahaha, how do you plot a story? How do you do the actual plotting? Below is a step-by-step lesson.
Into: The beginning is important, because you need to make an impression to your readers. You need to hook them in, make them want to read more.
One: In the beginning, start off with introducing your characters. Don't go into deep history about them or show too many names and too many characters all at once- or either, it will bore the reader or confuse them. Do YOU like reading stories that are boring or confusing? Not exactly.
You reader needs to get a vague idea of who you're talking about before anything can happen.
Two: Now, you could start off steady-paced and slow...not really cutting to the chase. It takes a bit before the action actually happens. (Ex: The Hunger Games, the Games didn't start until halfway through the story) If you're like me, you don't like that sort of format. So here is the other option: Cut to the chase!
No, I don't mean like, say your novel is about a policeman catching a criminal. You don't start straight off with a, "Hello, my name is Mark James. I am thirdy-seven years old and I am a police. Suddenly, I heard yelling and I looked out my window to see that the criminal I was chasing for years was running outside my office!" Nothing like that.
Your reader needs to know what happens FIRST- the big major thing that starts this whole story.
Three: And now, the protagonist decides to act. You start off with something that triggers the protagonist to actually do the thing. In this case, it would be that the criminal was murdering people for years and Mark's boss ordered him to track him down once and for all, or something.
You reader needs to know that the protagonist decides to do something about it.
Now, we are onto the middle!
Intro: This would be the part where the good stuff happens. The actions your main character does to catch the criminal, the time he spends in his office trying to find out where the murderer might be and where he would strike next- that's all happening in the middle.
One: This person needs to know the basis of this "middle part" now. He can't just know everything all of a sudden. No, even the great detective Sherlock Holmes doesn't have the easiest cases on the planet.
Your reader needs to know what's happening in this new change of action.
Two: A series of small events starts happening, and begin this second step with the first event that REALLY gets into the "middle part". Now, know this: Nothing comes easy with the character. Otherwise, a smooth flowing story where the protagonist wins EVERY time, and figures out EVERY thing , and rules above all EVERY moment is not very exciting. So, make struggling through the small actions hard to do!
In Mark James case, let's say the first action is that he decides to find out where the murderer is. He searches and searches, but fails to reach his goal- which means he did NOT find the murderer. He rests a little bit and comes back for another attempt, which leads us to step three.
Your reader needs to know how the protagonist decides to reach his goal.
Three: Continue slowly (or fast) with the series of actions, mostly failing, and sometimes winning. In our little police-chasing-bad-guy story, lets say Mark continues to search for the criminal. He finds him this time, at a hotel called Cliff Hillside. But then, when Mark arrives at the hotel, the murderer is one step ahead and knocks Mark out from behind. Later, Mark wakes up in a prisoner cell and his boss declares it that HE was the criminal all along!
Or, something like that...you get the point.
Your reader needs to know the continuation of how the main character continually tries (and fails) to reach his mini goals.
Four: Now, after many repeats of these attempts-and-failing things, you have to be even more cruel to your character and beat him up. This is how.
Your protagonist is THIS close to achieving his goal! (Mark was SO close to convincing the police he wasn't the murderer and handcuffing the bad guy!) BUT, here is the catch: They fail. (what a surprise) The readers are certain that, after so many misleading, the character finally gets something done right. But, of course, the bad guy wins. Waa.
Your reader needs to feel that the protagonist is winning and about to shine once and for all when- dead end.
Now, we're going to move onto the ending.
Intro: This is where the main characters has some good luck (finally!)and they, well, you could say win the story. Here's what happens first...
One: The protagonist breaks down, gets into an emotional fit, whatever. This is the part where the main character is REALLY upset about not beating the bad guy or something. Or maybe they just lay there emotionless, because all throughout the story, the character has never achieved a goal, and each time they fail again and again, but this time they fail their overall goal. They don't have any more feelings to physically act depressed.
In Mark's point of view, it'd be saying he failed to make the police believe he was the good one, and he failed to catch the murderer.
Your reader needs to also feel the great wave of depression, so to say, coming upon the character.
Two: Now, if this happened to you- trying for a goal by using small steps that fail over and over again, and finally being that close to achieving your goal but then greatly losing- what would make you fly into action again? The fact that, when you sit down and think, maybe the protagonist was doing it wrong the entire time.
What if Mark was using force and blackmail to try and make the police believe he was good? What if Mark was trying to physically fight down the murderer? Now, that's a reason he keeps losing.
So he sits down, thinks, and decides to beat the criminal by using logic and thinking instead of fighting (which the murderer obviously rules at), and makes the police believe him with clues that would definitely show that he could not be the criminal? And, once having a new perspective of how to win, your protagonist would once again put his plans into action.
Your reader needs to know that the protagonist has found a new way of defeating his problems.
Three: Here comes the good part: The main character wins! Yay! After all his sort of useless hard work, he finally overcomes all the rocks in the road and ta-da!
In our mystery story, Mark would have defeated the criminal by setting traps, and convincing the police with clues.
Here, you can have a little rejoice and end the story. If you want, you could continue it with a sequel or so on...just make sure the last chapter sums up the story to a close.
Hope this helped! Subscribe and comment! Lesson Two will be up next week.
Added on March 25, 2013
Last Updated on March 25, 2013
I am unique, that is all I will say.