While we're sure there are a few out there, it's virtually impossible to think of a single one offhand. It is a human instinct to identify with a sympathetic character. Through struggle, readers form an emotive bond with the character, and the suspense surrounding the character's uncertain fate keeps them interested. If you are not giving your reader any kind of struggle and there is no suspense created by Character X moving through various roadblocks toward some kind of goal the eradication of that struggle , your readers will not connect with your character and won't care what happens to him.
To put it bluntly, they will toss your novel aside and turn their attention to something that better provides what they're looking for. Many writers forget that a skeleton is just that—bare bones. Humans all have skeletons that look pretty much alike, but we all look vastly different when flesh, hair, and snazzy clothes cover them up. The plot outline is not the be-all and end-all of your plot; it's just the scaffolding holding up the walls of your construction.
The complication that sends your character into distress does not have to be huge; your main character doesn't have to be charged with recovering stolen nuclear weapons or with the task of taking a magic ring to Mount Doom to save all of humanity. Your character might be a sweet but socially challenged man, who, in the search for his sweetheart, bungles through all kinds of schemes to meet women before discovering that his next-door neighbor was the woman of his dreams all along.
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Your character might be a teenage girl, desperately trying to find herself, who dyes her hair electric blue, gets a belly ring, or takes up cheerleading to boost her popularity only to find that all she needed was one true friend. All of these stories follow the plot outline archetype previously described, yet each is dramatically different, and each has a good plot. The possibilities are endless. You are not limited to any specific genre—the plot outline is truly universal.
Your hopeless young man could live in China, India, or Milwaukee, and the story could be set in the present, the s, or years into the future. Ultimately, it is up to the author to wrap his or her plot skeleton in muscle, sinew, and skin, placing within it the heart that will make a unique and beautiful literary creation. And remember, if you need a manuscript critique , let our editors take a look! Any seasoned writer will tell you that creating characters that are believable takes some work.
It's a little like painting a picture, stroke by stroke. Characters have to be constructed, bit by bit, until the whole, complex individual finally comes into view.
A straight path is rarely interesting. Twists and turns that increase the sense of struggle provide an opportunity for the readers to build stronger emotional bonds with the character and build suspense. Whatever you refer to it as, the plot outline is what will hold up your story if you know how to use it—or cause it to collapse if you don't. If you already have a plot outline and are in the process of writing your story, you need to consider how you are planning on ending your novel. Remember our mantra: a plot is a complication followed by a plot resolution.
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Elements of a Story's Plot
How to Write a Plot Outline. Producing a consistent and effective plot There are many names for a plot outline; one of our favorites is the plot skeleton. Books, however, can remain somewhat open-ended. But, you must bring the story to a close with either a tragic or a happy ending. Perhaps Fiona is purchasing a crumbling mansion in Ireland with the royalties from her book.
Or, maybe she'll move back to her home country, cherishing her Irish adventure for what it was.
Either way, readers want to experience some sort of finite conclusion, or resolution. Below, you'll find a downloadable PDF document that you can print off, either for yourself or for your students. The "story tree" is a great way to visualize the different elements of a story's plot. Refer to this guide for Adobe printables for additional help with downloading the file.
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To get a sense of what a particularly strong plot of a story looks like, consider these exceptional examples. Rowling is a master plotter. In her Harry Potter series, we meet Harry and, soon thereafter, two characters who go on to become his closest friends. Once the introduction is established, we learn of Harry's quest to secure the Sorcerer's Stone. As for the conflict, Professor Snape is also after the Stone. In a climactic moment, Harry and his friends defeat an evil troll released by Professor Snape.
Although resolution is achieved when Harry secures the Stone, the series is able to continue on with six more books. Her backstory is established as an orphaned girl who attends a treacherous boarding school. Immediately, we discern she's a very strong character. As for the rising action, we watch Jane go on to become governess, or teacher, at a great manor in England. There, she meets and falls in love with Mr. For the climax, just as they're about to wed, Jane learns about Mr. Rochester's first wife, who's still alive, albeit imprisoned due to her insanity.
In the falling action, Jane moves away and we watch her settle into her new life with her cousins. The story comes to a "happily ever after" resolution when Jane and Mr. Rochester reunite and are able to marry, once and for all. The rising action is introduced when we see she's tasked with representing her district in the games. As such, she will face a series of difficult battles. These battles reach their climax when Katniss is tied in the competition with one of the other representatives from another district.
They decide to kill themselves rather than kill each other. The falling action and resolution take place when we see that the officials don't want that to happen and instead declare them both victorious. Keep in mind the main idea for your story and w ith these five elements, you can begin a storyboard for your very own short story or novel! You'll need a strong character, a series of events, a climactic and emotional moment, a series of events post-climax, and a resolution. Once you outline these five plot elements, anything is possible.
As you begin your journey to greatness, enjoy these tips on writing a bestseller.
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Rising Action In the rising action, we watch a series of events unfold. Climax The climax of a story is the peak of the action. Falling Action In the falling action, we see things start to wind down. Resolution In any story, it's important to conclude with a solid resolution, sometimes called the denouement.