You’re writing your first novel and you're full of anticipation. Your plot sets off with a super concept, which of course is your main conflict - it is isn't it? So, what do you tackle next?
Getting the plot right
- Now you must bring about, in the most unaffected way you can, one intriguing setback after another. There must be nothing contrived about the plot. Flukes, misunderstandings, and Acts Of God are NOT allowed in modern writing.
- The challenges in the plot should come in a progression of highs and lows, one sub plot crisscrossing with another.
- The most astonishing point of the main plot should not be reached until just before the end of your novel.
- Before you reach this ‘astonishing’ point, all sub plots should be resolved. This supreme climax of drama should come about only from the original main conflict.
- Combined with, and part of, this ‘astonishing’ point, should be the bleakest moment of the whole story.
- At the ‘astonishing’ point, the central characters must appear to be up against an impenetrable barrier, but make sure you don't make this predicament so tortuous there is no way out. Each time you come up with a situation, scrutinize it. Work out how it affects the characters, and the previous and following parts of the plot.
- Your reader must be convinced there is no way to resolve the predicament – until suddenly, the plot is disentangled, and the story is over.
- Do it quickly. Tie up all loose ends, leave no threads hanging.
So you’ve written the end. The novel is finally closed.
Your reader MUST now be satisfied the characters have overcome all problems.
Readers should feel that your novel was about convincing people, facing plausible problems, who found realistic solutions... If they don't, you're in trouble!