Plot Outline and why you need one
When you decide to write your first book, you’ll find it’s hard as a beginner to know how and where to start. With the consequence of that first word never getting written. The easiest way to get around this problem is to sketch out a basic plot-outline. Follow the next five steps to learn how to take action and develop a basic plot-outline.
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This will include your Protagonists (main characters) and will contain details such as their colouring, mannerisms and personality. Or so basic, as to only identifying their gender. If you’re a “Pantsters” like me, their details will develop as you type, and form their own personalities. Don’t forget to keep questioning everything as the answers will help push your story forward.
This is important for many story-lines but not for all. It’s a good idea to include something even if you don’t add it to your book, you need to sketch one out with your plot-outline. A setting can stir your imagination and help develop your plot, keeping you focused on the whereabouts of your characters.
Star by asking yourself what disaster will prevent the story goal from being achieved? What is your main character afraid will happen if he/she doesn’t accomplish the goal or solve the problem?”
The answers to these questions are called the Consequence of the story. The Consequence is described as a negative situation. An event that will result if the Goal isn’t attained by the protagonist. Therefore it is a vital part of a plot-outline, as it can develop both conflict and resolution. The combination of goals and consequences will create dramatic tension in your plot. It makes it meaningful to your readers as your character discovers the terrible consequences if their quest fails.
This describes what must be accomplished for the story goal to be achieved. You should imagine this as a checklist of one or more events. If the Requirements are met, your reader will feel the characters are getting closer to the attainment of the goal.
The word research often conjures all sorts of meaning to different people, making them think in terms of academia, science, experiments, or something heavy and overwhelming.
A barrier will often come down whenever anyone mentions the word research. Let me explain how exciting research can be in developing your plot. Each piece of material, document or any information gleaned from your chosen area of research is like a jigsaw, fitting into place, and filling the gaps of your story.
Research in this case, is anything you discover that will help your story line. For example, your notes, photographs, books you have read or places you have visited, newspaper cuttings, the answers to questions you asked, and anything that helps flesh out your characters and give strength to your plot.
Using the internet helps to make your task so much easier, because you don’t even need to leave your chair. But it is also a good idea if you set your story within a location you can visit. Taking this route you will soak up the atmosphere as you think of your characters and storyline and see what inspiration pops into your head. You will have a clearer picture as you add this to the outline of your story plot; it will help as you describe your story.
PLOT OUTLINE: do you need one?
However you’re planning how to write your story, you’ll need structure to prevent you from “Losing the plot.” When you construct your plot-outline you will still need to fill in the gaps with meaningful words. This can happen with perfectly formed sentences flowing from your fingertips racing across the keyboard or it can be slow, and methodical sentence writing.
Then there is the frenzied writer who writes a random paragraph without an outline and then doesn’t know where to go, because they don’t have anything to guide them. As a result an equally frenzied deleting session begins with consequence that this scenario will maybe happen repeatedly until the writer gives up exhausted, frustrated and feeling a failure.
One little TIP if you do feel it’s necessary to delete a whole paragraph – DON’T. Cut & paste and place them in a folder you can name SCRAP. It’s amazing how useful that redundant prose can be useful in a future document.
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