by Carol Brennan King

Getting started writing the story: Note, before you start writing, you must know where the story leads.

  1. A general outline or even more specific one will help you keep focused.

Some people are plotters. They develop detailed outlines and the writing goes fairly quickly, especially if the outline is very detailed.

Some are pantsers. The “fly by the seat of their pants” writing the story as it happens in their head, or making it up as they write.

You must find what works for you. Some people use a mix of the two.

2. However, you must Start with a strong story idea.

a. We talked about Character, Place and Dialogue in our last class.

b. Now consider what your character is talking about in that place? Probably a conflict! Think through what kind of conflicts your primary character or protagonist might face. 

c. That’s what we call a story. A group of people related in a variety of ways or a person who faces something new, a challenge of sorts. This is that conflict we just talked about.

3. Now, you need a plot, or a plan by which the events of the story, the conflict(s) and their resolutions are organized. Plots generally can be diagrammed by five steps.

a. Exposition where the characters, place and a conflict are introduced.

b. Rising action where the primary character encounters events that lead to the major conflict around which the story unfolds.

c . Climax or major event where the main character faces the key or greatest conflict revealing who the character is on the way to becoming and who is his or her antagonist or greatest obstacle.

d. Falling action or tension where the loose ends are picked up and the growth in the character is revealed.

e. Resolution or Denouement where the story ends and remaining issues are resolved.

SO basically a plot is a summary of the events or what happens when someone wants something, faces a conflict(s), and wrestling with that challenges, manifests growth and finds resolution. Think summing up the heart of the story.

Kinds of Plots: Here is a sample list of plots. You can google kinds of plots and you will find a number of different lists but all will contain a variant of these.

  1. Overcoming the monster – Harry Potter
  2. Rags to Riches – Cinderella
  3. The quest – Lord of the Rings
  4. Voyage and return – Wizard of OZ
  5. Comedy – Home Alone
  6. Tragedy – Romeo and Juliet
  7. Rebirth – The Grinch

You will find more plots here:

Note: All stories must have an arc, and the diagram for it might look something like this:

Story Arc
  1. Beginning where everyone and everything is introduced and the story is set in motion. Note the writer must hook the reader within the first paragraph or so, depending on the length of the work
  • Middle where the protagonist faces all kinds of challenges and conflicts. If there are no conflicts, the work would be pretty boring.

Everything builds here. The major conflict comes to a head.

  •  End where the conflict is resolved and as a reader, you see how that resolution affects the primary characters.

This material about stories is not exclusive to fiction pieces. If you are writing a memoir, for example, it still needs a story, someone who wants something, perhaps peace or to escape pain, and then there is a journey to that resolution.

I hope you have found this useful. There is more to come, and

Happy Writing!

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