Five Tips on How to Write a Better Plot

The plot is a crucial part of writing any type of story, but sometimes it isn’t always easy to create a well-developed plot based on your initial idea. Because every writer works in their own unique way, I’ve come up with five different tips to help you get started on planning your next plot. Hopefully one of these suggestions will help improve your brainstorming session and simplify the process of turning an idea into an intriguing plot!

The Big Challenge

The main character of every story is essentially faced with one major challenge. The protagonist will either be challenged by an antagonist, the world they live in, or one of their biggest flaws, and this is a great foundation for your plot. Once you have chosen the challenge, begin drafting ways to demonstrate that conflict to the readers and also possible solutions for your character to try. Just make sure that your challenge is something your intended audience can understand and sympathise with.

The Two Sentences

One theory is that any good plot should be able to be summarised in just two sentences, without specifically stating character’s names or the setting. This is only in reference to your basic plot, and this is your starting point for constructing an imaginative story around that simple concept. For example, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet could be summarised as “Two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths resolve the feud between their families”, but there is a lot more story built around that starting point. Once you have your two sentences, start thinking about more details, like why the two families are arguing, and what qualities the two lovers have that made them fall for each other, and you’ll have an exciting plot before you know it!

The Three Acts

Everyone knows that stories follow the basic plan of having three main acts: the beginning, the middle, and the end. Divide your idea into these three sections. The beginning should be where you introduce your characters and setting, and then throw in your main challenge for them. The middle is the part where your characters go on their journey and change for the better, with the end answering all questions and concluding the story. It is important to develop each section accordingly, and keep in mind that the middle should be longest and the end the shortest. Once you have your ideas organised into the three acts, expand on them to create a plot outline.

The Story’s Goal

You probably already have a basic idea of what you want your story to be about, so in order to develop that into a good plot you’ll need to have a goal for your story. What sort of messages or themes do you want to convey to the reader? Using this technique, you can begin to think of conflicts or characters to add to your plot that will contribute towards this goal. Even short scenes or minor characters you create are still important, so write a list of them and their purposes and then arrange them into a flowing story.

The Protagonist’s Goal

Every character in a story has motivation behind their actions, but the most important person to think about is your protagonist. Determine what their motivation is behind their actions and use this to help develop your ideas further. If you give them something important and relatable to achieve, then you will attract more readers. Although you may give a character one goal at the very beginning of the story, it is allowed to change come the end, as long as their motivation is still the same. For example, a superhero character’s goal may initially be to track down hidden bombs in a city, but then switch to jailing the villain who is behind the attacks, but the motivation is still the same of wanting to save the innocent civilians. Once you start pushing your characters towards their goals, you’ll start drafting a more interesting plot.

Thinking up a good plot can be a tricky task for any writer, but after trying some of these suggestions you will surely be able to have a fantastic plot outline ready for your next project!

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