Plot Builder – Three Steps to Sparking a Satisfying Story

Found those tips on a plot builder – Extremely useful. 

To make sure you have a strong enough plot to carry the weight of the story from beginning to end, you need to make sure you have these three vital elements.

 

  1. Show a character facing an imminent crisis
  2. Throw as much conflict and as many obstacles in his way
  3. Make sure there are consequences for his actions or inaction

 

Crisis

Always start with the main character and the situation he finds himself in at the start of the story. Strong characters drive a story plot. Flawed, interesting, heroic, struggling, sweating, beautiful – it doesn’t matter. Make this character dynamic, a character who is at the point of dramatic change or someone who will face consequences if he doesn’t change.Image

 

Conflict, conflict, conflict

Give him something he wants—something he wants badly—and move him as far away from this thing as possible for as long as possible. There are people trying to stop him. There are circumstances trying to stop him. There is something within himself trying to stop him. The conflict must be with him every step of the way.

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Consequences

And, lastly, there must be massive consequence if he doesn’t resolve the crisis he is in. This is probably the most important element. Why? Because it keeps the character motivated to keep going, to keep trying—no matter how many times he gets knocked down. It also keeps the reader hooked, invested in your character and the story. Will he win? Lose? These questions will keep them turning the pages.

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Examples:

A depressed detective investigates a brutal crime in which his estranged lawyer wife may be involved. The victim was the public prosecutor. There is pressure on him to find the killer, and a need to clear his ex-wife, to resolve the conflicts of his marriage and his own emotional predicament. There’s a lot happening here, right? We want to find out how he gets out of this mess.

A successful architect discovers her husband has been having a long-term affair—with her younger sister. She feels immobilised, but knows she needs to regain her self-worth and her career, while looking after her children. When a work colleague starts helping her, she falls for him. She has to reassemble her family and rebuild her nest. There’s a personal consequence she can’t ignore. There’s a chance at happiness she has to take.

 

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About N. M. Thomas

I was born in the West of France, a region I like a lot. We moved around a lot with my parents and ended up in Paris area when I was five. I lived around Paris area until I was twenty one and decided to move to England to improve my English (yes, just like that!) It wasn't easy to be in a country and a part of Britain itself (East Yorkshire)where I could not understand people talking to me. The accent was so important that it took me about a year to become fluent. I stayed there for four years and decided to go back home to Paris. I met my husband, who is American, and finally, only stayed just over a year in France as we moved to the United States. I've always loved literature and foreign languages. I speak fluent French and English, and know some Russian, Italian, Spanish and German. I started to write poems when I was a teenager. My dad actually influenced me a lot, he used to write beautiful poems in French (and I keep telling him he should publish them!)So, I carried on writing poems until I decided to start writing books. I've got two amazing children who keep me on my toes all day long so I only get some time to write at night, but I would not change that for the whole world! And I find inspirations from the music I listen, Lifehouse, Casting Crows, Fireflight and others, but also and mainly from instrumental music, original movie soundtracks (those I love!)
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