Toothless Letter PAh! Day late! Oh well, it was going to happen sometime or other. This is the downfall of posting day by day, but at least it took me until P to slip up πŸ˜›

Today we are talking about plot. We’ve talked a lot about things that go into books, whether they be essential things like characters, conflict or setting (coming late in the month!), or smaller bits like beats, narration and genres.

Plot is the events of a novel (or play, film, ect.) that are present in an interelated sequence. Basically, it’s what happens to your characters, because there are things that are happening to them, because why would you write a story where nothing happens?

Of course a plot doesn’t have to be simple, and there will often be sub-plots, side plots, tangent plots, minor plots, tangled in and happening at the same time as the main plot, or bigger plots.

Plot will often involve the conflict, because there is nothing like a bit of conflict to drive characters into doing something, or dealing with the consequences of actions that were taken before. Plot gets people from a to b whether it’s through a physical event, a decision from a character, a change in relationships between characters,Β or a change in knowledge where characters learn new information or their understanding changes.

So have you heard of the three act structure? If you’re a writing, probably. It’s one of the most common structures for plot.

ThreeActStructureFlat

First of all, you set the scene. The readers have to get to know the characters, the setting, a bit about them for the plot to build momentum. The you have an incident, called the inciting incident. This is something that makes the characters get of the sofa, get out into the world and do something. They might then have second thoughts about what they are doing, and think that going back to sofa might be for the best. And then at the end of act one will be ‘The Point of No Return’ (dun dun dun!!!!) which means that for whatever reason they cannot go back to the way things were.

Act two is all about obstacles and conflict. Things keep getting in the way, and the characters have to overcome them, often you can throw in disasters and consequences of previous choices that makes things worse for the characters. I like to think of this as a fun time, because it’s all about throwing things in the way and seeing how creative and resilient they can be. All the time, the conflict is growing, and there’s often a twist in the middle, but still the conflict rises. The is the point of the second act, and it ends with another climax.

Act three is resolutions and wrapping up. The plots that have been growing throughout the story need resolutions, they need endings, to be solved. The actions wraps up, we go into the descending limb and everything should get resolved. Unless you are having a series of books of course, then some things should be left over to lead into the next book. But if it’s just one book, then everything needs an ending otherwise you risk dissatisfying your readers.

Of course there are other structures, but this is the most common. It provides guidelines for the plot, and what should be happening throughout the story. I personally don’t plan, so I never write with this sort of thing in mind, but it generally fits this shape when I read it back after I’ve finished.

One thing to point out is that plot and story are not the same thing, Plot is just the events that happen. Story is the full parcel, with characters, and feelings, and events, and all of it. But plot is something that needs to be in there.

Got any interesting plot twists? My current one involves the classic betrayal by a close friend.

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