Workshop 1 - Plotting the Plot

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This story method is the one I find most useful.  If you don’t like it that’s ok, ignore me and go do your own thing – whatever works.

The idea for a novel can start with a character, story idea, a concept, a question, a what if? Or a story world.  We will start with the plot, because we have to start somewhere.  If you’ve already started with another element of the story don’t worry, all these workshops are interchangeable and can be done in any order.

The primary function of a fiction writer is to tell a story.  At the very minimum you need a three line plot.   his consists of

                   A Premise – what is the story about.

·                  A Complication – what difficulties do the characters have to overcome.

·                  A Climax – how does the story end.

Plotting is really all about storytelling and storytelling is all about conflict. For instance: a Princess is born, grows up, meets the Prince of her dreams, gets married and lives happily ever after is not a very interesting story (unless you are three years old). A Princess grows up overcoming the eccentricities of her parents, meets the Prince of her dreams who turns out to be a monster, but the Princesses’ pure love helps the Princes overcome his Monstrous traits, and they marry against the wishes of their parents and friends, is much more interests. Add that the two families are monstrous rather than the prince and you have Romeo and Juliet, turn pure love into obsession and you have Twilight.

It is all about what your characters have to overcome that makes your story interesting.

Without complications, objections, and hurdles for your characters to overcome, your story will fall flat, because all stories are about how humans overcome conflict.  In fact, the more difficult you make it for your characters the more interesting your story will become.

 Try sketching out simple, three line, plots:  a premise, a complication, and a climax.  The more you practice plot writing the easier it becomes, and sooner or later you are going to hit on that original plot that you cannot get out of your head and which turns into your next story.

Let me know how you get on and please share any questions, ideas or techniques.

Hey Nick :D after reading that looking at the three points (Premise, complication and climax) I was just wanting to know what would happen if you had more, as I am planning for one of my fan-fics into my own but i find I have many points to my novel but would it be dangerous if i did that or should I minimize all the points and get rid of some things in it. TimeLord15.

@TimeLord15, the point is, that a story needs at least one complications to be interesting.

I would say that provided all your complications are relevant to either the main storyline or one of the sub-plots (which either eventually tie in with, or mirror, the main storyline), then put in as many complications as possible. (More about sup-plots in another workshop).

If you end up with so many that the main story starts to wander you can always edit them out again. But finding you haven't got enough complications and trying to edit them in afterwards is incredibly difficult.

I am quite a visual person, so I find it helpful to draw out (storyboard) the main storyline and sketch in branching sub-plots. Sometimes, I even sketch out the character journeys. (More about the character journey in another workshop).

To summarise: More is good - go for it. Nick.