Having discussed characters, setting and theme, it's now time to work up your plot - or if you're a pantser (that's someone who writes by the seat of your pants as opposed to being a plotter) use these blog posts to create a working outline.
Imagine story as a game of chess; plot is how you move your pieces (your characters) around the board. They move in relation to each other. Every time one character (or chess piece) moves, it affects the future movements of the others. The antagonist and the protagonist are the black and white kings; when one is winning, the other is losing, and vice versa. They should both mirror or reflect that see-saw in their reactions, choices and emotional responses to each other. When the white knight (protagonist) is threatened, his knights (friend, mentor) move to help/protect him. When he is pressing forward, they follow; just like chess pieces. Depending on the story you are telling, the queen (love interest) either supports or rejects the king (protagonist) according to the choices he makes and their consequences. (I don't mean to be sexist here, I'm just using the names of the chess pieces as an image. You can reverse the roles of King & Queen if your protagonist is female).
Over the next two weeks, we'll be reviewing some basic "story moves" to make your novel a winner, by outlining following the three-part structure: beginning (first I/4 of the length), rising action & conflict (middle 1/2 the novel), and ending (final 1/4 of the length). I'll discuss what should be included, or at least considered, in each of these sections.
Before we begin, let's clarify the inherent conflict between the protagonist and the antagonist. Think of your novel while answering the following questions:
1. What are the conflicting, mutually-exclusive goals of each of them?
2.What will each of them lose if the other wins? Why can't each of them afford to lose?
3. How do each of them instinctively respond to conflict?
4.What is so important to the protagonist that it will make him engage with the antagonist despite his reluctance?
5.What is the deal-breaker ( the thing he/she would never do) for your protagonist?
6. What will your antagonist do to make him do it?
7. What is your antagonist's trigger(s)? What makes him over-react, ready to kill, brings out all his evil?
8.What will your protagonist do to set off this trigger?
Please leave a comment or like or tweet this post. We can all learn from each other. See you tomorrow!