Saturday, March 7, 2009

Let's Talk Plot!

© Marta Stephens 2009 all rights reserved

What is it?

The short answer is, it's the main elements of a story or what a story is about. But if that was all there was to plotting a story, our novels would only require a quick narrative that highlights the main points of the story -- something more akin to a synopsis.

Plot however, is the succession of things that happen to the characters, the choices they make, and their reaction to the obstacles they encounter. When developing the plot, each action and/or event causes conflict that should steadily intensifies as the story develops. Conflict needs to continue to build until the action climaxes, then the character resolves the issue(s), leading to an ending that neatly ties all the plot points.

Five Plot Elements:
  1. Exposition: Introduction of the main characters and setting.
  2. Rising Action: One or more characters in crisis.
  3. Climax: Point of highest emotion - turning point.
  4. Falling Action: Solution of character's crisis.
  5. Conclusion: Resolution
Please join me at the Authors By Design forum in the AbD chat room Tonight, March 7, 2009, night at 8 PM EST and let's talk about plotting.
Hope to see you there! So ... how do you go about plotting your story?
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Marta Stephens is the author of the Sam Harper Crime Mystery series published by BeWrite Books (UK)THE DEVIL CAN WAIT – (2008) SILENCED CRY (2007), Honorable Mention, 2008 New York Book Festival, Top Ten, 2007 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery)


Morgan Mandel said...

I should be more organized about plotting, but I'm a seat of your pants writer.

Morgan Mandel

s.w. vaughn said...

An excellent description of plot! I have an ongoing battle with plot - it doesn't get along with me too well. :-) I work harder on developing my characters than anything else, and one would think the plot would naturally unfold when one throws a bunch of characters together.

Sadly, it doesn't work out that way most of the time.

I hope to be able to drop in on your chat, Marta! :-)

April said...

What a great post! I am going to try like heck to listen tonight. It sounds excellent!!

Marta Stephens said...

Hi SW and April, hope you can make it too!!

You need to register to the site but it's free. :)
Thanks so much for your comments.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I hope I'm not getting lazy. I write a chapter, then go back and end it as badly as I can for my protagonist. It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it.

Great post, Marta. Honestly, you gotta write a nonfiction book.

Mayra Calvani said...

Sorry I missed this, Marta.

I finished reading your novel and really enjoyed it, by the way! I thought it was very deftly crafted. Will be writing my review soon!


Marta Stephens said...

Hi Mayra,

Ah, wish you could have been at the chat. It was great--several people join in and had a lively (and great) conversation!

I'm thrilled that you enjoyed SILENCED CRY. Look forward to your review. :) Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Great and helpful post. I can't wait to start writing my own story and your tips will be of great help.Thanks!