How to Plot a Story: Understand Plotting, Conflict, and Climax
How to Plot a Story: This must te the most dreaded word for any writer: plot. Believe me, we all think we don’t know anything about it.
I feel that the plot is different from the outline. Every story has a plot. Even you, my dear pantsers (people that don’t outline their stories, they prefer to keep going until they get to the end), have a plot. A plot is what happens in the story. It can be full of arcs, which is a series of scenes with one conflict that has started, the middle and the end, or it can go around one problem only. When you’re writing a short story, your plot will be around one problem. When you solve it, the story is over.
He begins his class by telling us that, when you start a story, a lot of things could happen.
“When you begin any story, youhave an infinite number of forkingpaths.Every decision, every word,every paragraph is a fork.”Neil Gaiman Masterclass
The character could have an infinite amount of choices.
For example, your first scene is in a school. The little boy, let’s call him Jake, is being bullied.
What will Jake do next?
There are millions of possibilities now. The story has just started.
He could try to face the bullies and get even more beaten up.
He can run away for a teacher and tell them what is happening. The bullies could get kicked out. Or they couldn’t.
Anything can happen. That’s the magic of a story.
It’s YOUR DECISION.
When you advance the story, the options start to get more limited because you made promises to your readers. You promised to solve the conflict. Jake is being bullied. What next? You promised that something would happen. This conflict would end.
How to Plot a Story: How to decide what will happen in the story?
I believe that there are two ways:
1. You want to write to market. This means that you know what your readers are expecting and you want to give it to them.
For example, in fantasy with the Hero’s Journey, readers are expecting to have a normal character living a normal life, the character gets a calling and they go to live in this amazing new life. However, they understand that they are special and this world presents a lot of danger. They have to help save the world from this danger. They usually have the help of a friend and a mentor and go through a training process until they go on their journey.