Category: Plot

  • Why Now? Believable Plots

    One question that is often overlooked in plotting is “Why Now?” Let’s say you want your character to decide to complain to the principal about someone bullying them. OK. Great. It’s surely time Emily got some spunk and got Jeremy off her back. But why now? It must be explained by actions and motivations that […]

  • Revise for Focus: Plot and Subplot in the Right Proportions

    I recently did a revision of a short novel manuscript, based on editorial Notes. The Notes were not specific, rather quite general. You see stories of 15-page editorial letters, but this was the total opposite. Basically, the story seemed out of focus and the interest lagged at a couple points. Refocus the Story Wow. What […]

  • SubPlots Deepen and Enrich Stories: Here’s How

    I’ve been reading through the first book in Rick Riordian’s new series, The Lost Hero. He has a nice breezy style that is full of adventure. And I’ve especially been noticing the subplots. There is an overarching plot of overthrowing evil and setting the universe to rights again. But each character has a specific role […]

  • Plotting Act 2: 23 Ways to Defeat the Sagging Middle!

    I am plotting Act 2, and the terror of the empty page is hitting, take two. So, I’m going back to some previous posts about plotting to see what they will tell me about plot, especially the middle of this novel. In 9 Ways of Looking at Plot, I looked at various ways to plot; […]

  • PLOT: You MUST be Brutal

    The biggest problem I have in planning a plot–still, after all these years–is that I am too nice to my characters. I can’t imagine the horrible things that need to happen, without a big struggle. Listen up: What is the worst thing that could happen to your character? It MUST happen at the climax of […]

  • End of Act I: 5 Functions Determine Plot

    In traditional jargon, Act 1 ends with a plot point that pushes the protagonist irretrievably into committing to the action of the story. The problem with writing is that the Plot Point at the end of Act 1 could be anything. At least at the beginning of the writing process. In reality, that plot point […]