Here lately, I’ve been having so many issues with organizing plots for the fictional novel I’m working on. I admit to often over-thinking things, but so desperate to find some help, I ended up having this as the topic of discussion for my writer’s group. In short, I wanted to know what other writers did for plotting out their stories.
I discovered several members had the same issue as I did, while others simply started writing without structure. Other writers use methods, such as the Index Card method, while others use an outline. Its whatever works for you.
Methods for plots:
Index card method– This strikes me as fine for short stories but a bit time consuming for a novel.
Snowflake method– Simply looking at how this expands into a complex shape of a snowflake should give you an idea how this expands the simple one-sentence plot into something bigger.
Chapter by chapter method– The recent story I’m working on seems to continually be in a state of flux, so I can only write summaries of each chapters until I reach the end. The link provides something a bit more exact that might prove helpful.
I also found a very handy article on the elements of plots. Story Structure Begins with Plot by Adam Sexton gives a handy mnemonic to remember the important stuff.
The important thing to remember about plots is conflict- good stories are about problems and the resolution of those problems by the characters. Conflicts can include external problems such as man versus man, or man versus nature, but conflict also includes the internal struggles as well. Character face their innermost fears, or somehow find a way out of the inner conflict they’ve had most of their lives.