The Plot of Plotting

Penmancy posted under Writing Tips on 2020-04-25

As per definition, a plot is …

‘an event of a play, novel, film or similar work, devised and presented by the writer as an interrelated sequence.’ – Oxford Dictionary.

During this period of lockdown, our minds have been put us into a tizzy but that only means now we have more time to think and write. Now is the best time to pick up a plot that has been resting and festering in our minds and begin to expand it.

Map your story
The very first rule of writing a story is to map the journey of your story- from where it begins to where it leads. But for better results, the best way is to first write the conclusion and work your way up to the beginning.

Every plot begins with an idea, a concept of what is going to rule the universe of your story. Slap that idea on that clean slate. Stay at it for a while and try to find ways to cross-examine it, till you cannot find any loopholes. Always remember, your plot may have loose ends, but not the idea that governs it. Once you repair all the cinches in the armour of your idea, find ways to abuse the powers of your idea and question the morality of the negative impact. The first one will give you the antagonist’s purpose, while the second one will define your protagonist. And the internal debate between morality and abuse will give you the end of your story. That will set at least two characters in your story.

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Give a voice to your characters
Your story now has given birth to two beings. Defining their character is up to who you want to fashion them after, whether after yourself or someone who has inspired you. The best way is to find people whom you have crossed paths with and the views and beliefs that resemble very close to that of your characters’. Next, fashion their personalities after them. Once you give life to a soul, chalking out their journey won’t be hard. This will give birth to supporting characters in your story. The aspects of the protagonist’s life that you focus on limits their number. This gives you the beginning of your story.

What is often found challenging is giving each character a background story. Only give those details that are either relevant to the plot or that can make the character the red herring of the story. That gives you the flow of the central part of the novel.

Begin your story
Now is the time for you to start the story. Best to begin the story with a sentence that shocks the reader, like a dramatic thought or a dramatic moment in the middle of the incident that you choose to begin the story with. When you begin with the latter, work your way up to the suspense, hooking the reader into the story. Once your first chapter is set in stone, it will not be hard to write the next chapters. The first chapter determines the direction of your story, so make it count.

Once you are done plotting, use the same method that you used to strengthen the idea/concept that your story is based on. Cross question every decision and every plot angle that you have added in it, till you are satisfied with the end result.

Once you are done with it, provided you have lived through this ordeal then, congratulations! You have plotted your story!

And yes, before we sign off, there is one most important thing to consider while plotting the story, maybe the most important thing. Do not plot for others, plot for yourself. Do not be afraid to make tough decisions. Do not stop yourself from taking the intellectual and creative plunge. Go for it. After all, this is your story to tell.

So, what are you waiting for? Go, plot, write and let your story conquer the world!