Writers Write creates and shares resources for writers. In this post, we look at the plot builder where we need to follow three steps to spark a satisfying story.
Plot Builder – 3 Steps To Spark A Satisfying Story
To make sure you have a strong enough plot to carry the weight of the story from beginning to end, you need to make sure you have these three vital elements.
- Show a character facing an imminent crisis.
- Throw as much conflict and as many obstacles in his way.
- Make sure there are consequences for his actions or inaction.
Always start with the main character and the situation he finds himself in at the start of the story. Strong characters drive a story plot. Flawed, interesting, heroic, struggling, sweating, beautiful – it doesn’t matter. Make this character dynamic, a character who is at the point of dramatic change or someone who will face consequences if he doesn’t change.
2. Conflict, conflict, conflict
Give him something he wants—something he wants badly—and move him as far away from this thing as possible for as long as possible. There are people trying to stop him. There are circumstances trying to stop him. There is something within himself trying to stop him. The conflict must be with him every step of the way.
And, lastly, there must be massive consequence if he doesn’t resolve the crisis he is in. This is probably the most important element. Why? Because it keeps the character motivated to keep going, to keep trying—no matter how many times he gets knocked down. It also keeps the reader hooked, invested in your character and the story. Will he win? Lose? These questions will keep them turning the pages.
- A depressed detective investigates a brutal crime in which his estranged lawyer wife may be involved. The victim was the public prosecutor. There is pressure on him to find the killer, and a need to clear his ex-wife, to resolve the conflicts of his marriage and his own emotional predicament. There’s a lot happening here, right? We want to find out how he gets out of this mess.
- A successful architect discovers her husband has been having a long-term affair—with her younger sister. She feels immobilised, but knows she needs to regain her self-worth and her career, while looking after her children. When a work colleague starts helping her, she falls for him. She has to reassemble her family and rebuild her nest. There’s a personal consequence she can’t ignore. There’s a chance at happiness she has to take.
TOP TIP: If you want to learn how to write a book, sign up for our online course.