Plotting, Organizing the Action, by J. Spence

So by this point, you’ve generated ideas for your story, and figured out its characters, now it’s time to organize your story giving it structure and cohesion. Lets get started by discussing plot!

Plotting is about the story action as it moves from the beginning to the main body of the story and on toward the climax and conclusion. Now, before we go on, ‘action’ here doesn’t necessarily refer to the speed chases and exploding bombs. It means how well the story moves along inching forward step by step from its wonderful beginning to its inevitable end.

It’s hard work taking a bunch of words and making them into a story that flows nicely through to the end. However, being able to accomplish this doesn’t necessarily mean your story will work. It’s a success when the reader is kept interested enough to work through the Protagonist’s problem and the author’s version of the world.

It’s imperative for the main character to change, growing as the story progresses, to a positive end. This is accomplished by the main character learning something that wasn’t known when the book began. It could be about life, the character’s self, the world around the character or another person involved in the story and with whom the main character interacts with.

The approach to plotting can be done in many different ways. Detailed outlines are often used. When using one of these, the author knows how the story will begin, all the plot changes and twists, and exactly how the story will end.

Another method is to begin with just a general idea of the story and characters. Some call this writing by the seat of your pants and often, the author is just as surprised by the development of the plot and ending as their readers.

Some work in between these methods using a bit of both. Most plot is character driven with the main character dictating the direction the plot is going. To practice plotting, pretend to pitch a story concept to a publisher you’ve met in person.

The publisher only has a few minutes to give you. Can you sum up your story idea in one sentence, showing character and plot direction? Start off with first writing out a pitch making statements about the beginning, middle and end of your work in progress. Then shorten each section to one line. Shorten the sentences to only its vital components and then write your one sentence pitch without sacrificing your character’s strengths and your plot’s direction.



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