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, my problem is that for the first story, I just can't seem to straighten out the various threads to make the plot seem less vague. Anything to help out with that?

Sorry if my question itself seems vague. :3

Answer: Yes. Be less vague.

You might start with the 8 Basic Elements of Plot ( and look for concrete ways to illustrate each of these.

What specific Goal will your protagonist pursue?
What specific Consequence will occur if he/she fails?
What specific Requirements must be met for him/her to make progress?

For each one, try to imagine if the story were made into a silent film or comic book. What picture would show each element to the viewer?

Even better, what action or event would show each element?

For example, in the film Casablanca, the goal is to escape the city and find freedom. The alternative (consequence) is to die in Casablanca.

So the story starts with shots of people being arrested by the police and killed for not having the right papers. We see a man at a cafe moaning that he'll never get out, that he'll die in Casablanca.

The main character, Rick, shifts from isolation to rejoining the world, opening himself up to new possibilities. So we see him in the beginning playing chess by himself, refusing to drink with customers, sticking his neck out for no one, etc. And in the end, we see him walking into the fog with his friend Renault, talking about how he is looking forward to their beautiful friendship.

It may take some time to find the right illustrations for each of your story points, but it will be very worthwhile as the story will become far more clear in your mind.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Plot Invite.

search this site the web
search engine by freefind

Celebrating our 2nd year as one of the...

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero