Question: I'm writing a novel in which the protagonist, little by little, uncovers clues about her mothers involvement in an incident at a hospital. The problem I'm having is wondering if I have enough of, or just "striking" plot twists to move the story along. I feel like I have a pretty solid story, however, it feels like the events that proceed are not too surprising, or rather won't exactly blow the readers mind - not that this has always been my goal. However, it feels like in this regard, I'm lacking and my story, although I feel is solid, does not have enough for the reader to not feel as if everything that comes after the next plot point is just part of a simple series of events. The book does lead to a final court scene, but I'm struggling to see if my concern is proper, and if it is, how I can solve it.
Thank you Answer:
Are you familiar with the W-plot model of story structure. Here's a link...
One of the most useful things about the W-plot is that it reminds you that each act (assuming a 4-act structure) should begin and end with a major turning point, which Dramatica calls the five drivers.
Your story sounds a little like a mystery so you might keep the general mystery pattern in mind...
Driver 1 -- the
inciting incident that prompts the investigation.
Act 1 -- discovery of the body.
Driver 2 -- first twist that shows there is more than meets the eye.
Act 2 -- the investigation.
Driver 3 -- 2nd twist (maybe the prime suspect is ruled out. Maybe a second body is discovered.)
Act 3 -- suspects are eliminated until the detective hits a dead end
Driver 4 (crisis) -- the dead end, resolved by a sudden realization by the detective
Act 4 -- revealing the real killer
Driver 5 -- the killer caught.
If your story is not about a murder, you can still use this pattern, just changing it a bit. For instance, instead of discovering a body, perhaps the protagonist discovers something that prompts her suspicions and makes her begin her investigation.
Remember that you are always building toward the next big turning point.
Of course, there is often more going on than this in a mystery. Often the villain is busy doing things, but the detective only sees the results, never the actions, which adds to the mystery.
Another approach would be to make this into a suspense story, where the protagonist is slowly walking into a trap set by the villain. The trap would then spring at Driver 4, and Act 4 being a chase leading to the protagonist's escape. Again, you still want all five drivers present.
Best of luck.