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.

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