You’ll have numerous ideas for your manuscript but knowing how to choose the ideas that will work best for your plot is important. Good story ideas are essential to great plots. My goal in this video is to simplify plot. So let’s start with the basics. What is plot? And I encourage you, especially in the early stages of writing to look up any terms you aren’t familiar with.
Plot is the main events of a novel devised and presented by the writer as an interrelated sequence. Now the keyword here is interrelated. Interrelated means that these main events need to relate or connect to one another in some way. So one way to figure out which ideas will work best for your plot is to first consider a theme.
A theme is the subject of a piece of writing.
Now keep in mind that some books have more than one theme!
For example, The Wizard of Oz had numerous themes. Home is one of the central themes of The Wizard of Oz and friendship is another important theme.
So tip #1 is to pick a theme (or two) that you’d like to explore in your book. Is it…
- Crime Doesn’t Pay.
- Own Worst Enemy.
- Coming of Age.
- Overcoming the Odds.
- Love conquers all.
- Humanity vs. nature.
- The individual vs. society.
- Good vs. evil.
Understanding the theme will help you with choosing ideas that will work best with your plot. So what is the theme of your book? Please share in the comments section below.
Tip # 2 is to brainstorm ideas that work with your story. So in last week’s video, I encouraged you to know how your story ends. By knowing how your story ends, you’ll be able to narrow down your ideas to ideas that will fit with the theme of your story.
Tip #3 Remember… you must have a chain of events that make sense! So this means no matter how good an idea, it must fit the theme of the story. Only pick events that are logical and progress the plot.
Tip #4 Plots need to have conflict. In other words, there needs to be an obstacle. So when considering ideas it’s not merely enough to have a good idea, but also an idea that presents conflict or an obstacle your character needs to overcome.
Again, what I’ve presented is to be considered the basics of plot. There are several other things to consider, including plot structure. To give you an idea of a basic plot structure, take a look at this plot diagram for a story:
1. In the first part of your story you need to set up the story by introducing your characters and the main events.
2. As your manuscript peaks you’ll want to have a confrontation or some kind of setback.
3. Lastly, your characters should reach a resolution or climax.
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