What is Plot?

Plot, as you may know, is the WHAT of the story. What happens to get characters from point A to point B? What happens to get characters from Chapter One to Chapter Two? You get the picture.

However, as stated recently over at Nathan’s blog in a great guest blog by Victoria Mixon, plot is more than just a random order of events. It is neatly structured. There is a hook, a beginning, a middle, and an end–all of which should be crafted to create a logical, and hopefully extremely interesting, storyline.

So, how is this accomplished, this structuring of plot?

One technique I have recently learned about is STORYBOARDING, which involves writing out one sentence descriptions of major scenes on index cards and organizing them in the order that makes the most sense. Once this is done, it should be easier to move from major scene to major scene in a cohesive manner. In theory. Also, it should be easier to develop subsequent scenes and etc.

An example of story boarding for my WIP is something like this:

  • main character learns of murders
  • main character finds latest victim’s body
  • main character begins investigating in the area surrounding her brother’s ranch–finds an old Spanish mine

etc, etc…

After doing this, I would typically fill in the gaps between scenes. Again, we go to the WHAT questions: What do I need to put my character through to get from storyboard one to story board two?

On another note, a technique I have used recently is the timeline. Yeah, it’s exactly what it sounds like: plot all of your major scenes/events on a timeline, and similarly to a storyboard, fill in the blanks.

Make sure and stop by tomorrow from more exploration of plot!

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