How to: write a plot in 12 steps
At this point, a good notepad may be the best way to get the ideas flowing. It’s as useful to write long sentences, loose words, or entire paragraphs, because all can come in handy when you tackle the actual plot. Reading is also very important, as it is the main source of inspiration, although films, television, paintings, and even people can also inspire.
II. Start connecting the concepts and ideas
Once you think you have enough ideas to start building the plot, you can join the ideas. Diagrams are of great use in this process. For example if you have pineapples and elephants, you could have an elephant eat pineapples.
III. Choose your type of plot
Although not publicized, some plots are non-linear, which means they can go back and forth in time without things like time machines being needed. If you choose to write such a plot, make sure that every excerpt is chronologically coherent with the rest. You don’t wanna say that he was in the cave (in the future), and then get to that point, and leave him being in his backyard. In non-linear plots, it’s better to leave time references out of the question until the end of the book, to avoid confusion.
IV. Imagine the setting
The plot will need to take place somewhere, and as such, the place you set it is as important as who features in it. If you intend to place your story on a already existing place, it’ll be easier, as you only have to imagine little parts, and not have to focus on the big picture, as that is taken care by reality, and you can jump the next step. If by contrast yours is a story taken place in a entirely fictionalized setting, keep on reading.
V. Creating your setting from scratch
In creating a new setting, it will require that you imagine every single detail. Don’t oversee little things like where people shall work, or how people walk down the street, as those can be of great value in the future. You’ll probably get much more details than you’ll ever use, but as always it’s better to get more than less. In science fiction and fantasy stories, things like the physics that control the world, society stratification, and the average person are all to be taken in account as serious matters.
VI. Understand causality
Every action as a reaction, and as such no events are random, unless the point is to illustrate the randomness of it all, of course.
VII. Choose a conflict
By now you should have probably started writing, although it is not strictly obligatory, and as such you should get the main conflict, or in other ideas, what makes the characters do what they’ll do. In the beginning no such guideline is needed, but it is required later on, for the progression to be logical.
VIII. Get the hang of rising action
Rising action is the sequence of events that ultimately leads to the climax. It is normally longer than it’s counterpart, the falling action, and shows development in the characters personality. This should be the portion of the plot you should worry most, as it is the one that leads to a weak climax, if not written correctly. As such, have your characters face several challenges, in which they can either be shown with their full potential, or even expand it.
IX. So you’ve this far
By this point, you should have the basic outline of the full plot. If so, it’t time to get back to organizing your thought process (hope you’ve kept the notebook, because it does get handy a lot of times). If you’re that kind of person, do sketches, maps, timelines, or even write poems about your story, as it gets you in the mood to fully love what you have developed. But don’t think the job is done. You only have the basic outline, that is something easy to do. The part where the basic plot becomes the good plot, is at the next stage.
X. Apply color
With color, I mean writing techniques which vary from clever plot twists, to known artifices like the Chekov’s gun (when an object appearing to be insignificant later resolves the conflict) or the not so apreciated Deux Ex Machina (which is a resolution that appears to come out of the blue: “We were falling to our death, when a blue goat saved us and blasted the evil genius’s balloon with its laser beam eyes”). With a combination of these and lot’s of metaphors, similes, and personifications you’ll get the best out of your plot.
XI. Rest a bit while looking at the finished outline
Take a short break from writing. Sometimes this can help you emptying your thoughts and giving you more ideas.
XII. Get back to work
Now it’s time to revise what you wrote. Make sure there are no anachronisms, incoherence’s with your own rules and laws, and that your characters stay consistent (they may evolve in terms of personality, but have to stay consistent with themselves, as keeping the same hair color, or the same height). If you find a main problem, and find that it ruins your entire plot, don’t be afraid to change everything. One error can be difference between a good plot, and a plot outline.
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