Ask Your Plot Questions ... And We'll Try To Answer Them!

Here is where you can ask your plot questions and we will try to answer them.

Plotting a novel can be a difficult task for beginning writers. It is in many ways a left-brain activity, one that requires a logical, often linear perspective, whereas many writers think holistically, following feelings rather than logic. As Aristotle first pointed out, a plot is a series of events linked by cause and effect.

Yet, plot cannot be strictly linear either. Often a good story will have several throughlines running simultaneously throughout the story. Some of these are external, while others happen within the minds of the characters. Passion, emotion, and characterization are closely entwined with a good plot. It is the combination of linear and holistic requirements that results in a rich story. No wonder plot is such a complex topic resulting in so much confusion!

Naturally, we will answer most plot questions from a Dramatica point of view, since that is the model we most like to work with. It is the most complete story model we have come across. At the same time, we don't expect you to be an expert in the theory. We will try to keep our answers simple and practical.

Also, for answers to some of the basic plot questions, check out our page on novel writing or the page on fiction techniques.

You can search this site to see if your topic has been addressed elsewhere. Just enter your search term in this box...

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And don't forget to check out some of the questions that have already been asked by other readers. You'll find links to these further down the page.

Otherwise, feel free to submit your question below...



Have a Question Regarding Plot?

Submit a question about plot or story structure here. If we feel we can provide an answer that will benefit other visitors and that the question has not already been addressed at length elsewhere on this site, we will post it. (We also invite you to comment on questions others have submitted. But please, don't post unrelated links.)

Plot Questions Other Visitors Have Asked

Click below to read questions other visitors have asked, and our answers...

Is My First Chapter A Prologue? 
Hello, Glen! Your advice and posts are very helpful and informative - so thank you! I’ve completed my outline, and I’ve written the first two chapters …

I don't know what the goal of my story is 
Hello, My story is set mainly in the present. A group of people have taken over the world billion years ago and our current world is their simulation …

Help, I'm stuck! 
Question: I'm writing a story about a cop who has to protect his daughter from an obsessed, supernatural stalker. I was doing well until I tried …

plotline: good or bad? 
Question: ok so my plot involves two teenage boys named Lyle and Max, who are filled with angst. They're in love with each other and have been in a relationship …

Cliche story idea? 
Hi Glen! I would like to get your opinion on a story idea of mine. I don't know if it's unoriginal or cliche or completely nonsense, so any advice would …

Subplots 
Question: How important is it to have a subplot that runs through much of the story? If an otherwise good story lacks one, would most agents or publishers …

A romance plot or a "defeating the villain" plot? 
Question: I have a story with some characters that I really like, but I haven't developed the main plot. I have the backstory, the character roles, and …

Outlining the Plot and Series 
Hi Glen! I have a quick question regarding outlining my novel. I want to write a trilogy, and I have the basics down such as the characters' goals, …

Synopsis With Two Main Characters 
Hi, Glen, Thank you for your time. After completing the first draft, I started filling plotting workbook. In my romance work, Hero and Heroine share …

The Inciting Incident (And Everything Else) 
Question: I'm currently outlining my story and I have a somewhat loaded question. My story is a psychosexual religious horror novel (which is a weirdly …

Making the audience NOT feel sympathy for a character but still telling his story? 
Hello! I'm writing a webcomic with a novel-esque plot, and this is my first time planning any sort of story, so I'd like some advice. Basically, …

STRUCTURING TIME IN MY NOVEL 
Question: I have a novel in the planning stages, and would very much appreciate your insight before going too far down a rabbit hole. The most compelling …

Where to End Part 1  
Hi Glen, I asked the question re: different POVs for Part 1 and Part 2. On a slightly related note, I'm not absolutely certain at what point to end Part …

Lacking clear motive and goal 
Question: My story is about how one man works his way up into society so he can tear it apart from the inside. I feel that's the main "goal" of the story …

no experience writer 
Question: The only writing experience I have is essay writing in college and journal writing. I keep a daily journal, is it possible for me to write …

Too Many Subplots? 
Hello, I found this site about a month ago, and it has been an enormous help in planning my first novel. I now have a much greater understanding of how …

Must a subplot affect the main plot? 
Hello. I have a question. I'm writing on an epic fantasy novel. This novel has four main characters, who also double as both POV characters and protagonists …

Character Developement 
Question: I am writing a story with two main characters. This whole story (which I am writing in 4 parts/books) spans roughly eight years. The characters …

When is a sad ending appropriate? 
Question: My story is about a girl in high school with an abusive dad and depression (her mother recently divorced the main character's father). She …

Writing Fight sequences 
Question: What is the best way to go about writing fight sequences? I'm writing a graphic novel, which has the visual component, but I'm not wanting …

Too common a story goal? 
Question: I have the main character who finds out that her and 9 other kids have powers and are going on a quest (not sure yet). Every idea I come up …

complicated plot--should I continue planning or start writing? 
Question: Ok, hi. This is my first time on this website and I have found a lot of helpful tidbits on writing so far. So I've been plotting a novel for …

plot problem.................. 
Question: I have thought of an outline draft of a novel, regarding a boy and a girl with contrasting personalities, who eventually become friends. Then …

What if the premise seems too simple? Can I still make it a good story? 
Ok, so first of all, I am making a film. It's going to be a machinima film made with a game engine and I want to make it while I'm still in film school …

Click here to write your own.

Everything's been done before!!! please help? 
Hi glen. First of all, sorry for that aggressive title, but I've been having this problem of avoiding cliches and such for quite some time... So …

HISTORICAL POV 
Question: I was thinking of writing a book with a POV that is not classified among the three that are commonly known. It is a fantasy novel, where the …

Becoming Truly Inspired 
Question: I've loved writing for as long as I've loved reading. Over the years I've trying to think of what I truly want to do in life, it always comes …

Would this be too much for readers? 
Question: What do you think of a fantasy war story that is written from two main character's perspectives? One pov would be from the side of a single …

I can't figure out the ending. 
Hihi! This is my first time on this website and I've found a lot of helpful things. But now I'm wondering if you can help me with the problem I've been …

Genre/Plot Question?? 
"In do-over novels, like Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver) and If I Stay (Gayle Forman) authors put their protags through Groundhog-Day-like reruns to measure …

past tense vs present tense 
Dear Glen, I have another question about my novel ( which I have nearly finished, first draft anyway, 800 words to go!) Apart from back story, I have …

How to plot a character-driven story 
Question: I recently found out that I am more of a plot driven story teller. Before, when I think of an idea for a story, I tend to think of the plot …

Driver!! 
Question: For each signpost are there four drivers, or one driver per act serves all the signposts. I mean to ask, say it is decision driver, is there …

Stories being too similiar 
Question: I have an idea for a story about people with powers and the government rounds them up and throws them in these special prisons and kills them. …

Plot Structure/Outline Issues 
Question: *I'd like to say that this happens to be a bit long because I obviously tend to ramble from nervousness, however I deeply appreciate the effort …

Need help spicing things up 
Question: So I'm working on a story in which there is an organization of people who are calling themselves perfect and trying to perfect everything and …

First-Person Suicide 
Question: I'm on my second draft, with a main character struggling with emotional and mental health problems. I use the first-person in the past tense. …

I jump around during the writing process. Is that bad? 
Question: When I'm plotting out specific scenes that pique my interest at the time, I often freefall or scribble dialogue that happens later in the story, …

Signposts 
Question: "each signpost is an event that may be subdivided into three or four smaller events, becoming thus a sequence itself. Each signpost can have …

Dialogue 
Question: Okay, I know this question seems quite stupid but I'm asking it anyway. I was wondering how do you know if your story has too much dialogue? …

From description to story 
Question: Okay, firstly, I'm sorry if this is a stupid question (I'm only thirteen and started reading this today), but I started the first chapter explaining …

When is it a Series and When is it Not? 
Question: I just discovered your site quite recently, and am going to recommend it to anyone and everyone as the most helpful I've come across.Thanks …

Outlining 
Hello, I have a question. I can't seem to find the answer anywhere. Hopefully you can help me (: . So I want to write an urban fiction novel, I have …

Book structure 
Question: I'm writing a book about my family history and want to start each chapter with a date of importance or life changing event for each. Most of …

Is this second POV needed? 
Question: I am writing a story with two main characters that don't really affect each others lives for 90% of the book. The main idea for the story came …

Confusion regarding a scene, as to whether it is The Inciting Incident or Rising Action or in between 
Hello I have a main character, who along with some other characters, do not know who they are. The story takes place in a fictional city in the future …

Big story, many character's POV 
Question: I'm writing a trilogy. It has one goal for the entire series. Each book, however, accomplishes just one-third of that series goal, making them …

The difference between the impact character and relationship throughlines 
Question: Despite reading your very helpful webpage, the questions and answers section, and even other websites I am still having a difficult time distinguishing …

Fantasy novel 
Hello, I am a youngster (18 years old) who always enjoyed to write stories. My main inspirations were always drawn from fantasy stories, mainly A Song …

Click here to write your own.

Change Directions? 
Question: I'm writing a story right now and I've just started a complete rewrite that was badly, badly needed. Now that I'm looking over my book, though, …

Characters  
Question: When is it good to kill off characters and is killing many bad or is not killing much bad as well? Most likely killing off characters is going …

Character Driven vs Plot Driven? 
Question: Your website is amazing and I am forever grateful of your insightful and detailed answers. My question is this simple: What is the difference …

Rules Regarding Filler in a Story 
Question: What is the right way to do filler material in a story? Lots of the middle of my story would technically be classified as 'filler', being …

Story Goal Issues 
Hello, I have a question involving my story goal. This is my first multi-chapter story so I'm trying for a simple, Jim Carry-esque character arc. You …

Survivers of Sodom and Gomorrah. 
Hello there, I'm attempting to write a story of two men (one of them is a teenager, but, regardless.) who escape from Sodom when basically all hell breaks …

The Big Message, What the novel is about. 
Question: My biggest problem is trying to sum up what my book means. ideas, characters dialogue etc is never a problem but the overall take-home message …

An Original Story?  
Hi, Just wondering what is an 'original plot' as I have heard of it a number of times in writing articles. And could you tell me what elements comprise …

Domain Explanation Please? 
Question: I read through the Harry Potter SignPost Explanation you gave elsewhere. Can you explain the concept of the domains: Situation (external …

Creating a Novel Series Story out of many other ones... 
Question: I have this story I want to create one day, that's a christian super natural story. It takes place in multiple settings, times, and many different …

A Conundrum of Sorts Regarding Flashbacks 
Question: The theme of my story is how history is being reenacted, and I have this idea to tell the story in a sequence of present day and past scenes. …

Multiple MC 
Question: I'm currently developing a story with three main characters, but there is one core story with one of these characters as the main one. I really …

Alien languages! 
Question: An earth woman arrives on an alien world. She only speaks English. Obviously we have a communication barrier. Let me state this right off- …

Character/relationship throughlines 
Hi, I've writing a murder mystery and this site has been fantastic for getting my plot together, so thanks! It all feels almost ready to go - but trying …

Sagging middle.... 
Hello, Like everyone else I will start by offering my thanks for the time you put into this site, the explanations and answers you give. I also appreciate …

Love Triangles 
Question: So in my story, the love triangle is a major player in the plot to reach the turning point in the story. But my problem is, every time I try …

Plot development 
Hi, I've read your articles but I still confuse how to develop my plot.. and since I am not good in english i hope you understand. My story is about …

How can this work? 
Question: OK, so in my fantasy, I really wanted to create two rival tribes, preferably of opposing beast-peoples (still debating on whether to use mythological …

Main Character vs. Protagonist...T.K.O.? 
First off: Kudos on the site! I came here after Googling "how to write a book" because I was suffering from severe writer's block... I've never been more …

Story outline in relation to a series 
Question: I currently envision the story I'm planning to write as a 5 books series and was wondering how the outline would apply. Each book has its …

Better understanding of the 8 Plot Outline steps Please! 
Question: So I loved how you were really a BIG help on my last question so I have some more! But these will kind of all be about your 8 steps to …

Stranded Characters 
Question: I've managed to get my characters to a certain point but I can't seem to move any further along. I know what their goals are and where they …

Two plots in one story  
Hello! You answered my last question so satisfactorily, that I decided to come to you for this as well. My now heavily modified story involves two plotlines …

Can I switch MCs after 3 chapters? And Would that need 2 plots? 
Question: Here´s another question that´s been eating my insides. I am confident that you will come up with a great answer, for you are truly awesome! …

Problems with a goal that becomes another goal by the middle... 
Hi. I´m having major problems with my novel outline. Hope you can help. My story starts out with a goal that the villain has imposed on the MC--he must …

Click here to write your own.

Subplots: Structuring and/or Outlining 
Question: Is there a specific kind of outline or way to set up and structure a sub plot in a effective way, I have a few subplots and they have conclusions …

Series in a Family Saga 
Question: I just read your reply to the question of writing a series where you state: "The hard part about writing a series is that your main character …

Plotting Points 
Question: My plot begins with the hero facing a large problem, which gets resolved to a certain extent about 20,000 words into the story. However, …

Outline "signposts" confusion 
Hello. I've been using your article "Writing an Outline of Your Novel" to further develop my already existing structure of a novel. It was tremendously …

I know what to do, yet am somewhere paralyzed... 
Hello there! I have a very clear idea for a horror novel, which I have loosely plotted out from beginning to end. I have a good main character, another …

change - ending and starting 
Question: I have many, many Ideas on what to write about, but what has stopped me is when to stop and how to begin somewhere else in an engaging fashion. …

Slow start. 
Question: I'm writing a sequel to a family saga. I think the plot is interesting but the real action doesn't get going until Part 2. Part 1 outlines …

Too many/ multiple plots? 
Question: My plot outline (or synopsis, not sure which) is this: A college student nabs a spot on a prestigious touring production company's roster, …

Killing a Character 
Question: What are some valid reasons for killing off a major character? In what ways should the event contribute to the plot if I wanted to do this? …

Developing Backstory/World 
Question: I'm rewriting a sci-fi story of mine and running into serious problems when trying to gradually develop the backstory and world. Many books …

Chapter Resolutions in Historical Novel Writing 
Question: In a historical fiction novel, does every chapter have to end with a page-turner, or can some chapters have resolution? Answer: The ultimate …

Creating Throughlines and Signposts 
Question: I can't see the difference between Overall Throughline and the others. I don't know how I can create different events in every throughline …

Inciting Event and Plot Believability In Book Series 
Question: I'm writing a book series (the first of four books) and the inciting event is a minor character's death that the main character uses as an …

Opening chapters problem 
Question: I am struggling with coming up with a solid first chapter because I really want to throw the readers into the action. My initial idea was …

How can I write this scene? 
Question: So I'm writing along, and then suddenly I get to a point in the story that I haven't thought through completely. And I'm stuck. I want to …

Plot Development 
Question: Hi. I am a student at Sol Feinstone Elementary School, and my teacher has asked me to create a powerpoint on how to have a good plot development. …

Imply this? 
Question: I decided that one of my characters is unable to have children. To keep it simple here, magic is behind the reason why she can not. I've worried …

2 Story Goals? 
Question: Can a main character have 2 story goals or should there only be one main goal that takes precedence over all others? Answer: In a fully …

Filling in the Middle 
Question: I have a story idea with three MC's, and I know how it starts out, and I know how it ends. However, I cannot find any conflicts that make …

Transitions from scene to scene 
Question: What are the smoothest ways to write a transition from one scene to another scene in an entirely different location within the same chapter? …

Too Many Ideas? 
Question I'm thinking of writing story about a homeless girl approximately 15 or 16 years old who has been living on her own for most of her life. She …

Book PARTS 
Question: As I build my outline (using your INCREDIBLY helpful articles here on this site. THANK you!) I have easily found an overall main character …

Avoiding confusion of characters 
Question: I'm writing a third-person novel and the key element of my plot is a completely identical clone of my antagonist (This is played for laughs). …

Do I have to start from the beginning to write a novel? 
Question: I have a basic outline of the beginning but other than that I have no idea what to do with it whereas I know more about when the team is assembled …

Antagonist's Motive 
Question: In my plot the antagonist is seeking revenge while the protagonist's main motive is to stay alive. Is there anything specific I need to add …

Click here to write your own.

Plot Outline vs. Synopsis 
Question: what is the difference between a plot outline and a synopsis? Answer: You may find some people use these terms interchangeably. However, …

Find my Antagonist 
Hi! First I would like to thank you for this brilliant website. It is really a great help! I'm having some trouble finding my Antagonist and I’m hoping …

Concerning Plot and Characters 
Question: I'm creating a story that revolves around the political relations of two fictional countries. In the story, a powerful figure (the antagonist) …

"Filler" Chapters and current length. 
Hi Glen, I'm currently writing a high fantasy book and I'm on the third chapter. So far, with a prologue and chapters 1 and 2 completed, I have about …

Interlude Between Act 1 and 2. Should I do this? 
Hi. I have planned the first act of my fantasy book thoroughly enough, and just finished wrapping up the first chapter, which focuses on one of my three …

Revenge/ Superhero story 
Question: My main character wants to get revenge on a certain individual, who has reached the apex of his arc and essentially taken control of every …

stuck on conflict in my story  
Question: I am trying to work on a novel, perhaps a series, about a human who becomes a vampire to fulfill a prophecy. The main theme I am searching …

Three Main Characters. Do I need three Gandalfs/Dumbledores/Obi-Wans? 
Question: I've read on this site that for every main character that you write in the point of view of needs to have his or her own story arc. They each …

clffhangers 
Question: How do put a cliffhanger in my story and still end my book with resolution? Answer: Create a plot in the first book with a story goal …

Filler Chapters 
Question: How do you fill in time between significant events? I have seen in this website that you should not use fillers to fill in time but without …

Plot is somehow related to a book or the other 
Hello! my name is... let that go as anonymous. I have a plot, for my story, but I have one problem- the plot is always there in a book or the other. …

Plot  
Question: What is a plot structure? Answer: Think of a plot as a series of events (things that happen). If they were just random events, they …

I am stuck with plotting, but pantsing does not work either. 
Question: First off sorry for any grammar / spelling mistakes. English is only my third language so a few might slip in here. My question is the following: …

Making repetative events in a story interesting. 
Hello! I am attempting to write a fiction book that spans the everyday life of a teen, and the adventure of a fantasy novel. A problem I am having is that …

How to write the first three chapters of your novel (with/ without prologue) 
Hello, for a project of mine (genre- young adult supernatural) I have to write the first three chapters of a novel. I've only ever been a short story writer …

Is it necessary for my plot to have disasters? 
Question: I've read various blogs and topics about how I need to figure out at least three main disasters for my story to work. Is that necessary? …

How to make Plot Twists 
Question: How exactly does one make a plot twist? It's my first time to write a story and I'd like to make a plot twist, how can I? Answer: The …

How does Dramatica theory apply to "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"? 
Question: I'm thinking of writing a Snow White retelling and am interested in seeing how Dramatica applies to it, but couldn't find an analysis of either …

Solidifying my story goal 
Hi Glen! I just want your opinion on my protagonist's story goal. I'm currently writing a dystopian novel about a group of people living in a totalitarian-like …

will this plot/ story be interesting? already working on it quite a lot... 
Question: The fall of Atlantis (and some events which led to it) was due to Pandora's box being opened. 12 girls were born with 12 powers and their rebirth …

Who can or should commit the climactic act? 
Question: I am preparing the climax of my novel. I realize that there is a "moment of truth" before the actual climax where the character makes a decision …

Children's Stories 
Hi Glen! I was wondering how you would go about writing a children's story. Does it have a simple beginning, middle, and happy ending or is it more complex …

Revenge/freedom plot 
Question: My heroine wants to get revenge on some people who have mistreated her in the past, one of whom is a tyrannical parent figure whose influence …

First Novel 
Dear Glen, I am currently in the very, very early stages of my first fantasy novel based on Atlantis. I am still in the stage of creating characters, …

A Question Regarding Character Development and Romance 
A hello from Canada! I'm currently writing a YA novel. I already have the whole plot line listed out, and I've already written eleven chapters. …

Click here to write your own.

Multiple relationship throughlines for multiple impact characters 
Hi Glen! I wanted to start off by thanking you for this website, it's helped me so much already with planning out my novel! I just wanted to ask: if I …

chapters 
Question: Do you write the chapter name on every page. while writing a chapter book. Answer: No. The header on each manuscript page should include …

Plot  
Hi. I tend to get an idea in my head for a scene and can't figure out where to go with it as far as plot goes. What might I be able to do to help inspire …

How can I turn this into a book/series? 
Question: I know exactly what I want, I just can't figure out how to organize it into a book. When I get an idea it plays in my head like a movie so …

Three main characters, only one perspective 
Question: I have a great idea for my book. The idea is that there is going to be three main characters, but I only want to see the perspective of …

lack of plot and motive 
Question: I currently have an idea I want to explore that involves a married couple. The woman believes her husband is plotting to kill her. But the …

i have problem with expressing myself in words. 
Question: I'm a CPA and thus over time my writing knowledge got limited. Now I want to write a novel and couldn't proceed because I am not able to describe …

Game of thrones 
Question: I am trying to write a game of thrones inspired book, but it's hard coming up with a plot, I have my characters and world, but I would like …

I've written myself into a corner. 
Question: I think I've written myself into a corner. I was working on a story where a woman has an affair with a mechanic while being engaged to …

Procrastination Problems. 
Question: Okay, I write a lot. I mean, a lot. I always start my stories off really great. I'll write a whole first chapter, but usually I give up after …

Plans are a Godsend 
Question: I actually love making outlines. I have a crazy mind, and pantsing sends me into one plot in one chapter, and a completely different one the …

Character involvement in the final outcome 
Question: I know that the main character needs to play an active role in the outcome of the story or it feels like a cheat. But is it possible for inaction …

Romance Movie 
Question: I have a difficulty analyzing the plot structure for the movie Wall-E. Can a movie have two different stories with the same characters? Wall-E …

My plot seems vague. 
Hey, I have a story idea--an epic plot, if I say so myself and I know how I want the overall story to go over the course of 3-4 planned books. However, …

Conflict Confusion 
Question: I've had this idea in my head for a while now and have been making notes in a little journal I've been toting around, but I'm not entirely …

Locate Keys ... but how? 
Question: When my angels (3) are going to earth to protector it, they get attacked by demons. they are carrying a box, which contains God's tears (which …

Plot with some religious elements 
Hi! First of all, thanks for all the tips in this website. They are very helpful :) Now onto the question. I'm writing a short novel wherein three …

Unsure on what to do 
Hi! So I wanted to make a story (not exactly novel long, but maybe 10-15 chapters). However, I'm having quite a debate with myself. Details aren't exactly …

Story/plot is too boring perhaps 
Question: I'm planning on writing a little fiction story revolving around senior high school students. It's basic gist is that a new girl transfers to …

fantasy 
Question: I want to know if this a good plot; 11 year old Ebony Pigment is stuck on a large island, along with thousands of other people. The island …

plot framework trouble! 
Question: I have a plot regarding a protagonist with an abused past. When her mother dies and she is left alone, she takes an exotic vacation as a last …

Does my plotline/idea have potential? 
Question: Hey everyone. I have always wanted to write a book, but only have I begun to consider it seriously. I want to write a novel, about 200-400 …

Third Person Present Tense 
Hi Glen. I'm having a bit of a problem right now, but first I want to say thank you! This website has helped me a lot with my writing, and I finally shook …

Story Goal and Ending 
Hi. Your website has been very helpful so far, though I've struggled with some aspects of plot development. My main character, a fourteen year old, lives …

too much action 
Question: I've written a plot for my novel but after reading it through I realized there are no lazy scenes in every chapter someone is doing something …

Click here to write your own.

Original, or not? Should I develop this idea further? 
Question: While watching a favorite television show of mine, I had a sudden inspiration. In the episode, it was revealed that in their version of Heaven, …

Plot Sequence 
Hi, Glen, I read your novel writing workbook, and came across Plot Sequences. Setup->Complication->Crisis->Resolution This flow is applicable to …

Need outlining help 
Question: In my story, I have the beginning and end figured out, but I am needing help putting it all together. Try as I may, it just doesn't seem to …

Comicbook Novel 
Hello, I'am writing a CB Novel more over an adult Novel as somehow attempting to do like Alan Moore on Watchmen, that kind of writing. So... the I have …

plot problem continued... 
Question: If you remember, I had posted previously regarding my plot:" I have thought of an outline draft of a novel, regarding a boy and a girl with …

A murder mystery in Key Largo, Florida. Started at sunrise on a Sunday, and will end at sunset sometime towards the end of the book! 
Question: I'm trying to write a murder mystery with 3 murders being committed. One in the 1st chapter, one in the middle and a surprise squeeze in murder …

How do I maintain my originality? 
Question: I am trying to write a young-adult, fantasy, romance type of novel. It's first person POV. The girl is the main character who is a vampire. …

Can the story goal change? 
Question: Hello and thanks for you time. I am currently writing a teenage romance novel and the story goal is for the main character to get the guy …

help for school 
Question: What does it mean when a teacher ask you to write about events that are connected to the plot of a novel? Answer: First, you should probably …

Romantic Drama 
Question: How do you create an obstacle between a guy who loves someone he cannot have but will do anything to have her? This is a story of unrequited …

Reader's decision? 
Question: I am currently writing a story that takes place in a massive fantasy world. I have three main characters that play a major role with in the …

Deeply pre-produced fantasy plot problems 
Greetings! :) I have a fantasy setting in mind. The world itself is more or less done (meaning there are religions, families, legends, even a different …

Story in My Head 
Question: I have a great idea about a story that includes the villain as the main character, but obviously something happens in their past that makes …

Advancing the plot without dialogue 
Hi again, and thanks again for your help. It's simply fantastic that you are willing to lend a hand. I find that I'm leaning really, really heavily …

I have no idea where to start. Please help! 
Question: I have this story I'm writing, called Brotherhood, and I can't seem to plot it out right. I always end up confused and stuck. My problem, in …

Story Goal: Key To Creating Solid Plot Problem  
Question: I'm having a few problems with plot outlines and such. I was reading about story goals to help solve this problem and am confused about something …

Ideas for Plot 
Question: John Green style book about a terminally ill boy who loves words and soon finds the perfect girl. IDEAS PLEASE! I have the perfect name and …

Moving too fast 
Hi, I'm trying to write a book, but I'm worried that the story is progressing too fast. On page six a lot has happened. But the thing is, I can't seem …

How Can I make The Main Protagonist's Motives SOLID??? 
Question: Ok, so far in my story, the main protagonist begins a quest to find his lost brother, when he learns that his brother is in fact, dead, he …

preconditions help 
Question: I'm struggling to come up with preconditions for my plot. The other 7 parts were easy... Can someone provide other examples of preconditions …

Getting into the action 
Question: I'm starting my story off with a description of the life of my main character, showing what she does in an average day and how this is different …

2 Main Characters? 
So I was indecisive if this would be a more character question or not, but I figured it would affect my plot more so here I am. Sorry before hand if I …

Story similarities 
Obviously I don't have the time to look through every story revolving around alternate universes to see whether my storyline is similar to another, but …

Where, in the story, should i start the book? (or should i make two books) 
Hey Glen, I have a story I have been wanting to write, but I have just one question: at which part of the story should I start the book on, and which …

Creating a Fantasy World 
Hi, I just wanted to start out by saying thank you for this website! It's so helpful and I read it all the time, forever grateful! On to my question. …

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Inciting Incident and Catalyst for Book Trilogy... 
Hi Glen, I'm a huge fan of your site. I'm in the process of plotting a trilogy novel and I know it's not an easy process which is why I've been doing …

Main Character & Overall Plot 
1. Does the protagonist (the one who pursues the story goal) own the Main Plot? Not sure what you mean by "own," but the protagonist is the leading …

How to plan a realistic course of events. 
Question: My main problem, which makes writing for me almost impossible, is the lack of understanding real-life events. Like how to get person X from …

Switching From Main to Subplot when Subplot consists of Flashbacks? 
Hello, I'm in the early stages of writing my novel. It will be fantasy, set in the modern world. To make a very convoluted story short, I decided on …

forewarnings or costs? 
Question: Thanks so much for all the valuable information on this site. I'm loving every minute I spend here, but as I try to plan out my novel using …

Brain Glitch 
Hey, so, I have this problem. I'm almost finished this manuscript that I've been working on fr 4 months. For a month, I distanced myself from my work …

Progressive vs. Static Story Elements in Creating an Outline 
Question: The last time I asked a question, you explained the difference between progressive plot elements and the static plot elements. To follow up …

Can't Merge Properly 
Hello,I want to write a romantic cum revenge type of story about a boy who loved a girl so much and after a one year or so,she dumps him...the main problem …

Decision vs Action Driver stories 
Question: I love your thoughtful blog. What advice can you give on writing a decision story? For unity, should you try to make more than one signpost …

Scenes/Events 
Every time I read about Scenes/Events I get confused. You talk about building the events with Setup, complication, crisis and resolution. I understand …

Story Goal Issue 
Question: Ahh, I've seen a similar question asked elsewhere on the site and you responded quite helpfully, so I figured I'd bother to ask myself. …

Antagonist 
Hi, I'm writing a story about a girl who is depressed, going to a psychologist and attempts suicide at some point. She is also involved in a relationship …

Middle-grade novels for girls vs boys 
Question: I have found that the plots of middle-grade novels geared towards girls seem to be less likely to follow the Dramatica model than novels geared …

Plot idea for a spiritual book 
Question: A parable set in the contemporary world opening in the present-day social milieu in India, then moving on to exotic Indian locations, to uncharted …

Too Many Action Scenes? 
Question: I'm writing a book about a young kidnappee who escapes her environment and I have a lot of action scenes in my plot. Between each large …

Plot development 
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, …

Plot problem 
Question: So I am writing this story of this girl in the 1800's who has magical visions into the future and her family thinks she is crazy, so they put …

How to Know When to Switch 
Question: So I've noticed this question gets asked quite a lot, so you're probably just done with everyone asking. But when you change POV how should …

Is This Death Not Dramatic Enough? 
Question: I have a character in my story named Shemar, who is the main character's idol (for lack of a better word at the moment) and by the ninth chapter …

Renewing an overused Plot 
Hi, good day. I am a frustrated writer. My editor always say that my plots are too shallow, that I must have put a little twist in it. How can I write …

Adding More to a Plot...? 
Question: My plot is clearly laid out, not in detail, though, so I can still change things about it as long as the goal at the end gets achieved. I was …

love triangles 
Question: What advice can you give for writing a story with love triangles? If the worthy lover is the goal, is the unworthy one the consequent? But …

battles or fight scenes 
Question: In my story many magical battles take place. I am having a hard time writing those fights. How can you write battles and still keep the plot …

Plot Checklist 
Question: Having held a plot in my head for a few years now, I have got to the stage where I find myself ripping it to shreds. I'm finding plot holes …

Sagging Middle Syndrome 
Question: I've read almost every article here and I still can't seem to get an interesting middle. I have a beginning and end. But have no idea how to …

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book outline 
Question: How do you lay out things to start a book off? Other than just chapters & a title? Answer: If you are writing nonfiction, you need to …

late love triangles 
Question: I started writing my story with the chief purpose of having two characters fall in a forbidden love but as I got a few chapters in I decided …

Writer's block 
Question: Well, I've been working on my novel 4 years and I still don't have any plot or themes. What should I do with such a stubborn story? Should …

Ticking Clock vs Option exhaustion 
Hello, I was wondering in terms of action based stories and decision based stories, when is the best time to use a ticking clock or option exhaustion technique. …

Story Structure 
Question: Hey I was wondering your opinion on the snowflake method and what it entails? Answer: The snowflake method is essentially a brainstorming …

subplots-how many is too many? 
Hello, I'm back again and my question is a focus on subplots. How many subplots are acceptable in novels? Will too many get confusing? Is there a such …

The main theme 
Question: I really do like this site, as it is great food for thought! I am dealing with a few problems. I want to write fantasy (my writing style is …

Repeating events in each Throughline 
Question: First of all, this is a brilliant resource so thank you! I have gone through all of the steps and tried my best to follow them through. But, …

Disillusionment  
Question: My story is about a devotee's ultimate disillusionment with the leader of a personality cult. I want the cult leader to begin as a contagonist …

Bringing out a theme. 
Question: In the novels I have read, there is a theme, but you must look for it. I want to write a series in which the theme is something that reoccurs …

Climax vs. Resolution 
Hello, I just read your Plot Development: Climax, Resolution, and Main Character article and I have a question about something (obviously). So I was …

Coming of Age Story 
Hello! I have a story idea of 4 (sometimes 5) characters who are coming of age that are each "running away" (in a sense) from their current lives. …

Figuring out the plot 
Question: When starting to write your story/novel, should you already have the entire story (including the ending and any plot twists) planned out before …

Change in Morality 
Question: I have a character who instinctively tries to avoid getting caught up in things, not to the point of making him a constant grouch but enough …

Good Book? 
Question: I really like this and I'm glad I found it. I just have one question.... I have a lot of ideas I want to mix together to create one, cohesive …

is it too cliche and shouldn't be continued! 
Hi! In a book that I am planning there's a vampire and an angel and they fall in love but their love is forbidden and the angel's brother wants his mate …

Short Stories/Longer Works 
Question: I can only write short stories but I want to go bigger. Can you help me? Answer: I recommend you do some plotting. You may be used …

Twist Placement 
Question: Can the twist be at the very end or very beginning? Would that make the rest of the book less appealing? and can you have little twists within …

Character Driven 
Question: What's the best way to write character driven plots? Answer: Dramatica has two main pieces of advice to begin with. First, Dramatica …

writing questions 
Question: How to develop from the plot outline to the paragraph? Answer: Let's say you have a solid plot outline, with all your major events briefly …

Problem with changing plots. 
Question Every time I sit down to start plotting my novel, I begin to change it and tweak it until I come to the conclusion that I need to create an …

Empty Space 
Question: So I'm writing a story. I have everything I want planned, and yet there's an empty place. The main character is a part of a prophecy and when …

Can I do this...? 
Question: OK, I don't know if you've read Interview with the Vampire, but in it is a character called Claudia, who is turned into a vampire at (I believe) …

Could this work? 
Question: My novel is set in a land similar to Africa, mostly like the Sahara desert except that unlike the Sahara, this region is almost nothing but …

Damned social norms... 
Question: In my novel, the main characters are 2 princes of an empire not entirely unlike Ancient Egypt and the Hittite Empire. I don't think I need …

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Still a hero? 
Question: Much as I hate giving spoilers of my work, even for the purposes of advice, I need help! My novel series is set in a world where semi-modern, …

PLEASE bear with me... 
Question: OK, my fantasy world is heavily based on the Ancient Middle East. My main characters are fraternal twins, a prince and princess of a country …

Through a book 
Question: I want to write a high fantasy series, with the main characters being a girl (15 at the start) and her brother (2 years younger, on the eve …

Problems with 'Story Goal' 
Question: Answer: Two things. First, the Story Goal will generally be something that the majority of character participate in or are affected by. …

Throughline 
Question: Could you please give example for impact character's and relationship's throughline? From Harry Potter's book or Huckleberry Finn maybe? …

Planning? 
Question: How do you plan your book chapter by chapter? Answer: You will probably have some planning to do before you worry about chapters. You …

Story Goal / Theme 
Hi, I've read the pieces on Story Goal and Theme and I am still not clear on the practical differences between them and how I would use one versus the …

Turning the 8 easy steps into 8 meaningful signposts 
Hello Mr. Strathy and everybody (seems this family is growing more and more): I don't know how to handle the following problem: once you have followed …

The Storyline? 
Question: I don't even know how to begin my story, and what events I should use. Would the best way to get the story going is to create and get to know …

Unfair, but true... 
Question: In my novel, I have a small yet powerful organization controlled by the main character. In many ways, they're a combination of paramilitary, …

Writing a Series... 
Question: I want to write a series, but I keep running into a problem when I'm planning the books. Does each book have it's own story goal, and all the …

I'm having a rough time fleshing my story out. 
Question: Ok, so I have the very basic plot down, like, "The main character does this and accomplishes this thing, then he goes over here, while the …

plotting in detail 
Question: I know what is going to happen in the book but I think the middle is too boring with not enough happening. At the start she is being bullied …

Fictional Martial Arts 
Question: OK, so my fantasy is centered largely on the martial arts, armed and unarmed, that my characters practice. Though the main plot does not exactly …

Sagging Middle Syndrome 
Question: I just read your article about sagging middle syndrome and identified the cause of my own. I don't think that my novel's tension is increasing …

The (Happy?) Ending 
Question: So I have an ending for my book where everything is wrapped up nicely, except that then in the last chapter there is a plot twist that reveals …

Christmas Novel 
Question I've always been passionate about Christmas, and I think I'd enjoy writing a novel with a holiday theme more than anything. I hesitate though, …

My Story 
Question: Well you see I am trying to make a book about my Nana's childhood but from her bother Dennie's perspective I have already talked to him but …

Tension 
Question: I feel like there is not enough tension in my novel. Looking at my antagonist, I feel that he is not causing things to get worse and worse, …

Sagas 
Question: Hey there I'm a comic/manga writer I would like to know how do I create something like a chart representing each chapter and it's connection …

Predictable Plot: Nay or Yay? 
Question: I just read another question about when and where to place a plot twist. It got me wondering about whether or not it is necessary to throw …

Plot Twists 
Question: Can you give me any advice about how and when to incorporate a plot twist? I have a general plot mapped out but I feel like it's a bit too …

figuring how to build on this... 
A Fairy Princess who has to find her own way of obtaining her wings Response: Okay, you have a main character who has a goal. That's a start. You …

stuck on chapter 2 :/ 
Question: I have started to write a book that I have been thinking about for a while. I have flown though the first chapter knowing exactly what I wanted …

Personal Conflict and the Climax 
Question: In the plot outline provided by your site it gives these two ideas: "Overall Signpost #3: This signpost marks the climax of the story. It …

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Points of view 
Question: In my story I have two main characters telling the story, but I don't know how to set this out. I was thinking of changing point of view each …

When should the rising action begin  
Question: I have thirteen thousand words and my rising action happened three thousand words ago and I want to write a seventy to eighty thousand word …

More signposts and squences.  
Question: Would having more than four signposts in your Overall Story Goal or elsewhere be okay? There could be one more thing that pushes your protagonist …

Should a book be structured like an essay? ie intro,body,conclusion? 
....with the body being the storyline? - Response: A nonfiction book can certainly be structured that way. As for a novel, there are some novels …

fanfiction 
Question: How do I write a story about my favourite tv show without copying the storyline? Answer: Well, I would suggest that the first place to …

Foreshadowing 
Question: I am currently working on a fantasy novel of my own. However, I am having problems with foreshadowing. How do authors foreshadow? What are …

Sequels and or relating to another book you have written 
Question: I was wondering about writers who might write up to four or even eight books. How do they continue their stories for so long? Do they plan …

Brainstorming 
Question: I have tried and tried to begin my story and just can’t seem to get it right because the beginning is everything in my opinion. I want to …

Is this believable? 
Question: In my story, my character needs to accidentally end up in the wrong place. I know that writers should never allow anything to happen purely …

Plot 
Question: I am writing a story, about a princess who gets kidnapped and she escapes her captors grasp. After she escapes the jailhouse, she runs into …

POV and subplots 
Hi, I'm re- writing a YA novel about a girl who is groomed to become a werewolf. Part 1 is really focused on her and her slow transformation. Part 2 …

An open to interpretation ending of my novel? 
Hi, Thank you so much for answering my previous question :) Well, I've written about a quarter of my novel and have changed the ending a little in …

Novel Idea 
Hi, I am really interested in writing a complete, emotional novel. I have some plots in mind, but I'm not sure which ones I could use. I tried starting …

I am having difficulty converting the 16 signposts into sequences 
Question Actually, my main character isn't the protagonist so the main character, the impact character and the relationship thoroughline are important …

a novel that deals prostitution, but in fact is anti-prostitution 
Question: What can be some of the reasons that a noble man falls in love with a prostitute? Can that ever be? What if a prostitute falls in love with …

Story goal 
Question: After reading advice on plot, and realizing that a character has to have a clear and definite story goal I ran into a problem with my novel. …

what element should i use? 
Question: During which time in the plot should you add elements to intensify the problem? Answer The short answer to this would be "act 2," which …

Is this a satisfying ending? 
Question: I am working on a fantasy trilogy of novels in which the ending involves the heroes losing against the big bad (the devil) only to then reveal …

No plot ideas 
Question: I have no idea's for a story plot and or story line. I've been at this for hours- trying to find websites to help me with this writers block, …

Consequence 
Question: I'm kinda planning a series ahead of time, myself. But only the general information about it - such as the goal and consequence. Specifics …

Predictable plot in romance. 
Question: Some people have mentioned that my ending is predictable although still quite satisfying. Well, it's a love story and ends the way one would …

Anticlimactic Climax? (With reference to The Hunger Games) 
Hi, I've finally reached the climax of my novel. Your website has helped me a lot. I've got this thing in my mind where the climax of the novel has …

Is This A good Idea for a Plot? 
Question: I'm not too good at writing, so bear with me. :D Okay, there's a 16-year-old girl named Ivy, who has a secret that causes her a lot of trouble: …

Dramatica Requirements 
Question: First up, I utterly adore the site. I visit it at least once a week and I've been experimenting with dramatica ever since I found it about …

Plot for a prehistoric fiction 
Question: I am writing a novel about a prehistoric era and how one tribe migrated from their spot to another after a disaster. I came to a point where …

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Is this a good idea for a story? 
Question: I am 16 and currently have a big interest in a writing career, so big that I want to become an author of fiction. I am hoping that my one idea …

A good ending for a zombie novel 
Question: I'm writing a zombie themed novel. It's from a first-person perspective. I was in the middle of writing the story (I'm not even sure if i …

No ideas 
Okay, I really want to write a story that has angst. I'm trying to be creative, but none of the things I think of flow well. In my story, this happy-go-lucky …

Inciting Incident 
Question: So, I read that to get a plot moving you have to make your character respond to the complicating incident or problem he/she is faced with... …

Character Throughlines and Main Story Throughline 
Question: My problem is that I have two primary characters in my story. One of them is most definitely the "Main Character" because the major signpost …

Plot too cliche? 
Question: Hello. I was thinking about writing a story about young people with powers (like mutants). I don't have much in my head about it, but its sitting …

Placement of Cliffhangers? 
Hello, I really love your site! And thanks for answering a previous question! I used to write on the internet, so each 'chapter' or 'part' was only …

Hard to describe thrilling moments 
Question: So I'm writing this adventure story and find it very hard to write moments that are suppose to keep readers on the edge of their seats and …

Should I Open With the Main Character or the Threat? 
Question: My story is a team of mythical characters band together under The Project to battle a cosmic threat. However should I show the audience the …

Is my plot any good? 
Question: I am a young writer and I love wolves, werewolves, sci-fi, and that kind of stuff. But I was wondering if this would be a good plot. By the …

Intensifying the Story Problem 
Question: During which time in the plot should you add elements to intensify the problem? Answer: Generally speaking, the problem or problems faced …

Plot is my weakness 
Question: Hello. Now that I'm seriously writing more and working on my novel, I'm find out that I'm really good at the creative writing part. But the …

The Very First Chapter 
Question: Thanks to this website, I now have a solid plotline that I can work off of. I better understand the roles that my characters play, and tweaked …

Consequence Element 
Queston: Consequence Element: Avoiding the consequence justifies the effort required in pursuing the story goal both to the characters in your novel …

My genre is "Paranormal Romance" .  
Question: I am writing a novel and I'm wondering if the romance between the hero and the heroine should take precedence over the main goal of the story? …

Two events novel 
Question: I'm working on a novel which only has two major events. A guy studies abroad, and gets involved in a human trading crime, a hundred pages are …

Plot 
Question: Please, can the main character in Middle Grade novel use magic to kill another kid who wanted to kill him? The MC felt that, if he does …

Plot / pace 
Question: This question may seem a bit ambiguous, but how do you know if your writing is too fast-paced or slow-paced? I know that some people prefer …

Story structure 
Question: Can I paint a character black and even make readers think he is the antagonist only to find in the second book that he wasn't a bad person …

Does every story need antagonist? 
Question: If I have a problem to solve and the hero has already enough obstacles, do I still need a bad guy? Answer: Not every antagonist is human. …

Switching Story Goals 
Question: Is it okay for your main character to switch their main story goal halfway through the story or does that lead to an unsatisfying story? …

A bit of a Moral Issue 
Question: My main character is being forced by the Mafia to kill the King of the Land. If he refuses, he'll be killed by the Mafia and they'll find someone …

Holding back information 
Question: This is a rather specific question. I had an idea in my story for one of my characters to fake his own death to escape from danger. However …

Scene Structure 
Question: After I write out a basic outline for my story I start writing scenes but they seemed to come up short. Is there any way I can structure a …

Scenes 
Question: Would you please explain what a successful scene should do. Answer: There are of course two definitions of scenes. The first definition, …

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Must I Have/Rely Upon A Formal "Story Problem" Statement? 
Question: My character faces a gut-wrenching life or death decision at the climax of my novel. It evolves inexorably through earlier events, along the …

Creating Story Events 
Question: One of the questions I find most important is creating events. I can imagine an event but when I look at it I don't find it connected to the …

Plotting & Outlining 
Question: I am severely confused on the whole procedure required to outline a novel's plot. First of all, what is a plot, really? And can it be used …

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