by Charlie Stoneworth
(United Kingdom)

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 is not recorded on any map in the world and life there is miserable. They all live in tenements and are fed on old cabbage leaves. The island is run by a lazy, inconsiderate of a queen. Ebony wants something to change but how?

Answer: Frankly, what you have here is not a plot. It's a situation or a starting point. It's a story world and a character. A setup, but not a plot.

The plot is what happens next. What will change or threaten the status quo in this world? What new opportunity will stumble into Ebony's life? What adventure will she be invited to embark on? What new development will she be swept up by? What will force her out of her current existence?

The plot will be the story of her journey or quest and whether she is successful in changing her life and/or the lives of everyone in the story world. Does she improve their lot or save them from disaster? Does she eventually find herself in a better place? Does she gain status, security, or a chance to fulfill her potential?

If this is to be YA genre fiction, you might ask if she is to defeat a villain, find love, expose a dark truth, or fulfill her destiny.

If this is to be more literary or character-driven fiction, you might focus on how she is to come to terms with growing up in this world or who she is to become. You might explore the social issues in this community.

What happens next is the question you should be asking yourself. That's the key to plot.

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