Don’t lose the plot

It smacks you in the face like a wet newspaper. No, a bit more subtle than that. Perhaps a new idea creeps into your subconscious and begins to grow and blossom until it bursts out and must show its beauty to the world.

However it happens, for writers it happens and frequently. It can be a flurry of ideas that we are left to madly scribble down or tap away at the keyboard before any grains of information disappear. You can be in such a hurry to get the story out, but one thing you need to remember along the way is ‘Don’t lose the plot!’

Here are some tips I have learned along my creative journey.

We work so hard on the beginning and run out of steam for the ending. Don’t! The story must flow, keep the momentum going throughout.

Don’t give the editor the excuse not to publish you. Ensure your story takes them all the way to the end.

Your ending is your gift to the reader. It brings everything together. You want to thank the reader for reading your book. Leave them with the OMG feeling.

Lay your foundation for your ending in the beginning. Don’t fake your endings.

The best way to avoid losing steam is mapping or plotting out your story. When you begin it’s all roses and dreams of being a best-selling author but when you are in the thick of writing your story it’s easy to get lost.


Plotting:

An idea is born

What is the premise of your story? What do you want your character to achieve experience or learn during your story? Where is your story set?

Getting to know your character

This is where you really need to map out a clear picture of just who your character is. How old are they? What gender are they? Do they have any distinguishing features? Do they have a talent or skill that might come in handy during the story? This is what you will use to paint the picture of your character. It is important to really know your character before you write about them.

Obstacles

By introducing your character to a problem or obstacle this sets them upon their journey. How will they overcome this problem to reach their goal? Will they face other hurdles along the way? Creating an obstacle will also help push your reader forward. The reader will want to know how your character is going to solve or overcome this obstacle.

What drives your character?

This drive will be the inspiration for most of your character’s decisions and actions. Each decision, action, and page must propel your story forward. If there is something affecting the flow of your story, remove it!

Life wasn’t meant to be easy

Solving the problem, or obstacle should never be easy otherwise why would the reader continue to read on. In your story, there should be one or more obstacles woven into your story that prevent your character from getting what they want. That’s not to say the problems shouldn’t be resolved, it’s all about the journey along the way to solving these obstacles.

Lessons to be learned

The lessons learned throughout the story will be both pivotal for your character and the story. Basically the ah-ha, moments when everything falls into place and gives the character the tools they need to better achieve their goal and overcome the obstacle or problem before them. Lessons learned will also help in the growth of your character.

Climax

This is the most exciting part of your story, where all the action and drama rises forming the highest point of tension in your story. This could also be where your character will face their biggest obstacle or hurdle.

Resolution

This is where it all comes together. Your i’s should be dotted, and t’s crossed. It is where the character has resolved all conflict they faced throughout the story and have now reached their goal. It is also where any sub-plots or loose ends need to be addressed and resolved.

Always follow the basic story elements; setting; characters; plot; conflict and resolution...

Storytelling is about two things; it's about character and plot.
George Lucas