Plot for a prehistoric fiction

by Camilio
(France)

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 my story is becoming a description of facts relying on scientific approach, with landscapes, animals or encounters and a simple linear journey for the goal which will be the new country. I don't feel there is a plot in this story any more. What can I do to put some plot action in the middle to make it more attractive?


Answer I presume the conflict in this story is about the hardships the people must come with on their journey - with Nature or the environment as the antagonist. Think about the basic plot elements. You wil have Requirements: things that must be accomplished for them to succeed in finding a new home. These will alternate with Forewarnings: negative events that suggest they may die before they get there.

You will have Costs (what they must suffer for the sake of the journey) and Dividends (positive things they would not have experienced if they weren't on the journey). There will be Preconditions (stipulations some characters impose that make the journey more burdensome). And you will have Prerequisites (things that will make achieving the Requirements a little easier).

The alternating of these elements will create the emotional ups and downs you need to make the plot interesting as you build to the climax - the deciding event that determines whether they succeed.

At the same time, consider having a conflict between the main character and someone else in the tribe, someone who has a different idea of how they should pursue their goal. Give this a dramatic structure as well - an inciting incident, complications, a crisis, and a resolution.

Now, if the Man vs. Nature story is not enough, consider creating subplots involving various other characters in the tribe who have conflicting ambitions, goals, concerns, values etc. There can be any number of interpersonal dramas taking place at the same time as the overall journey.

Best of luck.

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