Learning to develop a story that takes readers on an unforgettable journey is the key to becoming a great novelist. Here are 10 steps to ensure your book has a memorable, winning plot:
Develop your story in 10 easy steps:
- Study effective real estate development examples
- Use a plotting process to shape your story
- Create a timeline of your novel's plot events
- Let characters develop in fascinating ways
- Make each of the "5 W" changes
- Sketch scenes to create a storyboard
- Learn to develop a story with subplots
- Use character-based and action-based arcs
- Ask yourself important questions about story development
- Get useful feedback on your story arc
Study effective real estate development examples
Reading is a great wayimprove at every stage of the writing processbecause great writers give us inspiring examples of how to craft right.
As you read your next novel, ask yourself:
- How do the characters in the novel change over time?
- What is the main sequence of events (what happens in the novel and when?)
- Where does the story take place? What benefit does each scenario offer to the overall structure and development of the story?
Some story development experts you might want to check out:
- John le Carré, known for his spy novel plots
- J.R.R. Tolkien (cuckooLord of the Ringswas named Best Single Plot Arc in a Multi-Novel Series)
- Mister Terry Pratchett
- Stephen King, whose supernatural horror and thriller books are often made into movies (in part) due to their tight plots
You can read the work of contemporary bestselling authors to gain insight (especially in regards to what is marketable).
However, many classic authors (eg Charles Dickens) are still read today for their brilliant, well-structured stories.
Use a plotting process to create your story
Great plots start with curiosityand good ideas.
It helps if your story begins with an intriguing hypothetical situation (for example, the premise of Orwell's bookOne thousand nine hundred and eighty four: A tyrannical political regime criminalized independent thinking as a “thought crime”). a goodThe idea of the story must be developedthrough a focused storyline process that will shape your story, however.
Use Now Novel's story sketch tool to brainstormQuick story ideasand grow from start to finish.
Developing a detailed synopsis is a useful exercise in developing and solidifying your ideas for characters and plot points. They can differ significantly from your sketch during crafting. Still, it will help you to think of your book as a cohesive whole.
Create a timeline of your novel's plot events
Developing a story is easier when you understand the "when" of your story.
as exercise,Create a timeline of your novel's plot events.
Make each branch of your timeline a chapter summarizing the most basic plot details. For example: "The main character discovers the identity of the parents and prepares to meet them.")
If you don't plan on planning your entire romance in advance, create a timeline anyway. Complete it in summary form during the project so that you have a condensed visual reference. This will make it easier to remember where your story has taken you so far and the general flow of events.
A document like this helps you navigate between the detailed process of creating scenes and chapters and the macro process needed to see the big picture.
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Let characters develop in fascinating ways
When you've done all of the above, it's time to think about it.how your character(s) will develop.
When starting to write a novel, identify the main goals of each main character.
Start thinking about how this combined with personality traits can lead to your development.
A shy student who aspires to become a leading scholar, for example, may find a professor with whom he forms an unusual and enduring friendship. Obstacles to the character achieving his goals can be study problems or false accusations of plagiarism.
You can create detailed character ideas just by following the instructions atCharacter section in the Now Novel story panel.
Whatever your story idea, make sure your characters develop in interesting ways. Show how your desires (or fears) influence your decisions. Show the consequences that lead from there.
Make each of the "5 W" changes
In both novel writing and journalisma "story" consists ofo "5 w" - "who", "what", "why", "where" and "when". Who are the important characters in your story? What situation are you in and why? Where and when does the story take place?
A great story doesn't just contain satisfying answers to these five questions. It also shows some development in each of these areas.
For example, your main character might be an aspiring police officer who lives in a rural community. She considers giving up her career because small town life is smothering her. Suddenly, a local triple homicide draws them into the scariest (and thrilling) elements of police work.
The "who" can change:Perhaps this makes the intern more difficult and competent at his job.
The “what” (your goal) can change:She realizes that her calling is to serve her community, and this may be due to the new and meaningful interactions and relationships she forms throughout her police work.
She might as well go to the big city after all (a change of "where"), smarter and more experienced.
If you make each of these plot twist elements compelling, you will take the reader on a journey and develop your story.
One way to ensure that this development takes place is to storyboard your book:
Sketch scenes to create a storyboard
Whether you use flashcards, software or cloud-basedStory planner for writers, a storyboard is a useful tool for developing your story.
Try to summarize the main events of each scene in just two lines, which of your characters will be in it and what the point of the scene is.
You can do all this in the Scene Builder tool in the Now Novel panel and import it to display alongside your working document with our free Google Docs plugin.
While planning your romance andPlan your story development, you can rearrange the scenes according to your story until you get a sequence of scenes that makes sense to you.
Sometimes you will find that the order of two or more scenes must be reversed. In other cases, you may find that an opening scene is better left at the end of the story because of its content or mood. This process will help your story flow and develop smoothly.
Learn to develop a story with subplots
ONESubplot is a secondary or subplotthat supports your main story arc.
To take a well-known example, in Harper Lee's famous novelkilling a bird, the children's fascination with their mysterious and reclusive neighbor Arthur "Boo" Radley (and their eventual meeting with him) is a subplot of the main story (a process that reveals the racial politics in which the children's father, Atticus, is involved) .
In Lee's book, events involving Boo Radley underpin the main arc. Children receive a hands-on lesson from their encounters with Boo. They learn that making up fantastic stories about others and turning them into bogeymen is a dubious alternative to facing the fear of the unknown and getting "the whole story" about a person. In this way, Lee uses his subplot to emphasize the core issues of the story's central judgment.
Use character-based and action-based arcs
“Change” propels a story forward. It is brought about through character- and action-driven cutscenes.
In a crime thriller, for examplecharacter drivenThe scenes show the reader what is at stake (for example, the main character's love relationship with her son). This makes action-packed sequences like fast-paced car chases even more exciting and intense as we are aware of all the personal and cherished things that drive the main character's will to survive.
To successfully develop your story, be sure to balance character-driven scenes with action-driven scenes.
Even if you're writing something less dramatic and violent like a Regency romance, the same is true. Show scenes where your main characters do mostly action-based activities - for example, a carriage or train ride. Use these as transition points between scenes that will deepen and develop your characters.
As you write and towards the end of your first draft, it's helpful to ask questions about how the story is developing so you can decide if your story shows enough growth and change:
Ask yourself important questions about story development
When you've written most of your novel, ask yourself the following questions as you develop your story:
- How did the main characters change?Throughout history?
- whythey changed?
- What did the characters (and readers) learn about the central situation or premise of the story?that you didn't know at first?
- What are the main themes of the story?(For example: "Triumph over adversity" or "The danger of possession")
Once you have the answers to the above questions, keep them in mind as you review. Is there a point in the story where a little change could make these elements clearer?
Maybe your main character's growth isn't as clear as you'd like it to be. Either there has not been enough change or development to illustrate its central theme.track your action- not only what is happening, but also the reasons for the plot events, as well as their consequences - will help you create a more satisfying story.
Get useful feedback on your story arc
Once you've visualized your plot and are satisfied that your story is developing well, share your work with other writers to get helpful feedback. Start drawing anddevelop a story nowUse Now Novel's simple story outline tools.
- How to develop a character: 7 easy steps
- How to develop a story idea: 7 essential exercises
- How to create a plot and ensure a better story
- 6 Plot Development Questions to Build Your Story
- Story Ideas: Romantic Brainstorming in 8 Easy Steps
- What is literary fiction? How to develop a literary voice
What are the 10 steps to writing a story? ›
- Idea. It starts with an idea. ...
- General plot. What is the novel about? ...
- Character. I tend to move away from plot once I have the elevator pitch down. ...
- A synopsis. Ah, the synopsis. ...
- Write! I do a first draft where I essentially write up the above synopsis. ...
- Read. ...
- Re-write. ...
- Prose edit.
- Throw the reader right into the plot. ...
- Confront the reader with the hero's reputation. ...
- Put the reader at the gate to the location and atmosphere of the book. ...
- Tell your reader about the character of the hero. ...
- And now for something completely different.
- Introduce characters and setting.
- Inciting incident.
- Main story premise.
- Strategy 1: Begin with action or dialogue. ...
- Strategy 2: Ask a question. ...
- Strategy 3: Describe the setting. ...
- Strategy 4: Begin with background information. ...
- Strategy 5: Have the main character introduce himself or herself.
10 ways to make a good story succeed:
Give your story strong dramatic content. Vary rhythm and structure in your prose. Create believable, memorable characters. Make the important story sections effective.
- 1 – Ordinary World. Most dramatic stories are a spin on the classic fish out of water tale. ...
- 2 – Call to Adventure. This is where the problem is presented to your heroine. ...
- 3 – Refusal. Our hero is reluctant. ...
- 5 – Threshold. ...
- 6 – Tests, Allies & Enemies. ...
- 8 – Ordeal. ...
- 9 – Reward. ...
- 10 – Return.
A plot is also a narrative of events, the emphasis falling on causality. 'The king died and then the queen died,' is a story. 'The king died, and then the queen died of grief' is a plot. The time-sequence is preserved, but the sense of causality overshadows it."What are the 5 main points of a plot? ›
- Exposition. This is your book's introduction, where you introduce your characters, establish the setting, and begin to introduce the primary conflict of your story. ...
- Rising Action. ...
- Climax. ...
- Falling Action. ...
A plot summary is a brief description of a story's plot. It does not contain discussion of any deeper meaning, opinions, or even extensive details about the work. Literary Analysis. A literary analysis is where the student explores deeper meaning and examines the different elements of a piece of literature.What makes a good romance story? ›
Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending. A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work.
What are the steps of romance? ›
- Stage 1: Initial Meeting/Attraction.
- Stage 2: Curiosity, Interest, and Infatuation.
- Stage 3: “Enlightenment” and Becoming a Couple.
- Stage 4: Commitment or Engagement.
Write about a first date that surprises both people, but in different ways. Write a story that involves love at first sight. Write a story that includes (or subverts) the enemies-to-lovers trope. Write a story about unrequited love.What are 5 key steps to developing a storyline? ›
- Identify and Understand Your Audience. ...
- Determine Your Goal. ...
- Discover the Challenge(s) ...
- Find the Right Character. ...
- Bring it to Resolution.
- Rising Action.
- Falling Action.
There are three elements to a good plot: challenge, conflict, and character. You can create them in any order; it's really up to you and how you work. What matters is that you have all three—and give all three of them equal attention when you're writing.What are the 7 important parts to a story? ›
- 1 — A Theme. Plot (#5) is what happens in a story, a theme is why it happens—which you need to know while you're writing the plot. ...
- 2 — Characters. I'm talking believable characters who feel knowable. ...
- 3 — Setting. ...
- 4 — Point of View. ...
- 5 — Plot. ...
- 6 — Conflict. ...
- 7 — Resolution.
- Identify the focus of your short story. ...
- Start writing. ...
- Write a compelling beginning. ...
- Create a powerful ending. ...
- Read your story out loud. ...
- Edit and revise. ...
- Ask for feedback.
Since there will be many plot points in a movie, I call these The Magnificent 7 Plot Points. They are: the Back Story, the Catalyst, the Big Event (we've mentioned that one), the Midpoint, the Crisis, the Climax, and the Realization.What is step 10 of the 12 Steps? ›
These daily practices are the subject of Step 10 of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous: "Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it." Here the word "inventory" means taking stock of our emotional disturbances, especially those that can return us to drinking or other drug use.What are the 6 stages of a story? ›
Specifically, the students learned the six-stage story structure (i.e. setting, theme, attempt, consequence, climax, and resolution) from a number of stories in the dual tasks (i.e. the use of digital storybook after the use of paper-based storybook) and then applied this structure to create their own stories.
What are the six 6 basic steps in writing a story? ›
A plot is also a narrative of events, the emphasis falling on causality. 'The king died and then the queen died,' is a story. 'The king died, and then the queen died of grief' is a plot. The time-sequence is preserved, but the sense of causality overshadows it."What is a plot summary? ›
A plot summary is a brief description of a story's plot. It does not contain discussion of any deeper meaning, opinions, or even extensive details about the work. Literary Analysis. A literary analysis is where the student explores deeper meaning and examines the different elements of a piece of literature.