Elements of Plotting

#1 The Plot Maker

What It’s About:

Ever try to come up with a blockbuster premise that just doesn’t come together? Then this trick is for you.

The plot maker is a fun, five-step system to help you develop your next premise. Ehler focuses on romantic comedy plots but, as with other techniques in this list, you can use it for any genre.

You’ll break down each element of the premise into a column system, generate ideas for each, then put the best together into one powerful story starter. Use the included “Romantic Comedy Formula” graphic to rough sketch your story’s structure.

You’ll be on your way in no time.

It may seem simple, but this is a powerful tool. You’ll find out from the start if your story has potential. That means saved time on wasted writing.

From: Anthony Ehlers of Writers Write
Get It here: The Plot Maker

#2 Emotional Elements of Plot

What It’s About:

This article helps you tie plot events to your character’s emotional development.

Why is this connection important? Your character’s emotional arc is that magical element that binds your reader to your story.

What happened to you when Ender agreed to play the battle games to save his sister in Ender’s Game? If you’re like most readers, you forged an emotional connection with Ender. He made the tough choice even though it hurt him, and readers fell in love just a little bit more.

The stories that make you feel are the stories you carry forever. And Alderson shows you how to create that power in your own work.

The article focuses on character development plots. But the concept adds depth to any genre or plot type you apply it to.

Afterward, Alderson takes you through the three parts of your story’s structure—beginning, middle, and end—and pinpoints exactly where your character’s emotional development should advance. Easy peasy.

From: Martha Alderson at Script Magazine
Get It Here: Emotional Elements of Plot

#3 Visualizing Thinking

What It’s About:

To find the best solutions for plot problems, sometimes it’s best to look beyond writing. Try these IT lecture notes, for example.

In Mark Kelly’s IT lecture notes, you’ll find a wealth of visualized thinking methods geared toward one thing: solving problems. Decision trees, mind maps, fishbone and Venn diagrams. Because sometimes we get so lost in the details, it’s tough to see our way through the maze. These visual guides will jumpstart your meta brain, help you take a step back, and reveal the big picture.

My favorite is the POOCH method. This one’s great for testing out different character decisions or dramatic events before committing them to paper. Sounds like a time saver to me.

From: Mark Kelly at VCE IT
Get It Here: Visualizing Thinking

#4 Learn How to Structure Your Novel—In Five Minutes

What It’s About:

Plot and structure go hand in hand. So Weiland’s article takes you step by step through a story’s major elements—like acts, incidents, and plot points. She defines each one and even provides examples for those that are sometimes tricky to distinguish. So if the difference between an inciting event and a key event confuses you (like it does most people), you’ll finally know the difference (and impress your friends).

After this article, you’ll have a good grasp of major plot elements and basic story structure. And since plotting is structure, this will help you sketch out your overall story too.

The best part? Whether you have your first draft or you’re planning your outline, this article gets your story into shape.

From: K.M. Weiland of Helping Writers Become Authors, guest writing on Live Hacked
Get It Here: Learn How to Structure Your Novel—In Five Minutes (Update: this post is no longer live. Womp-womp.)

#5 The Best Advice on Plotting I’ve Ever Heard: Two Tips that Will Make Plotting Easier

What It’s About:

The killer headline isn’t the only great thing about this article. This may, in fact, be the best plotting advice you’ve ever heard.

When I first found this article I felt I’d been handed the key to limitless writing success. It’s seriously that good.

First, Hardy reveals a no-fail and ridiculously simple technique for developing that coveted story-advancing conflict. She narrows the infinitely confusing question of good conflict into three simple words. You’ll learn those words when you read the article.

The concept she simplifies so well? It ensures your story is rife with wonderful cause-and-effect action. Apply this, and your reader will never get bored. Ever.

As Hardy says, this “strips away the guesswork.” Finally.

From: Janice Hardy’s Fiction University

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