Plot development

by Derrick

Question: I'm a beginning writer but I don't have any formal writing skills. I've got an idea for a story about a man who is a loser in most respects, his gambling addicted father, a gambling ring that kills people if their money isn't paid back, and a female that helps the loser but is part of the gambling ring.

I have the makings of a good story but I'm not sure of how I can put the plot together to where it would make sense (I'm even having trouble making it make sense to myself at times.) Could you give me any ideas how to make this work?

Answer: You have some fine ideas. Now you need to start developing them. Here are some approaches you might take...

Remember that every story is about a problem that leads to a crisis that results in a change in the story world. So you might start to consider what sort of problem and crisis could arise in the world of your story. How might things be different after?.

You can also look at a story from the perspective of the main character. What might his personal problem and crisis be? What's the biggest challenge he can face? Will he be better or worse off in the end? (Note that the MC's personal story is different than the overall story, but connected.)

If you find yourself stuck with this approach, try some simple question & answer brainstorming.

1. Write a list of questions you can ask about your characters, the world they live in, or any other aspect of your story.

2. Write a list of possible answers to each question.

3. Choose the answer you like.

4. Re-write your story idea to include your chosen answers.

5. Repeat as many times as you like.

I've described a third approach in the following article...

The idea here is to build a simple synopsis based on the 8 essential plot elements. (It's been the most popular article on this site for years.)

Best of luck.

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