Basic Plot Structure – 5 Plotting Moments That Matter


A good story opens with a protagonist whose life has been turned upside down in a negative way by an antagonist. This is known as the Inciting Moment.

This causes problems for the protagonist. The protagonist has to react to this challenge. The protagonist tries to solve the problem. The problem is not solved and becomes more complicated. The main character tries again. This attempt also fails and the problem worsens.

This leads to a ‘dark night of the soul’ where it seems as if the antagonist will win. The protagonist tries again and solves the problem.

This is plotting at its most basic. You will have to flesh out the plot from this simple formula. We know from teaching our course, Writers Write, that most writers haven’t even thought out these five points before they decide to write a book. We would suggest that you use it as a starting point.

If you enjoyed this, read The Top 10 Tips for Plotting and Finishing a Book

If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg or sign up for our online course.

Amanda Patterson by Amanda Patterson

This article has 4 comments

  1. Richard

    I don’t really believe it. But I have it somewhere in my novel. I’m up to Chapter 6, now. It’s going good.

  2. hanna

    this is the best course

  3. Bri

    So how do I apply these plot points? And once I do, how do I carry it forward to the next stages and to the finish? And what are said stages?

  4. Writers Write

    Dear Bri
    You would build your book around these points.
    If you are in South Africa, you could attend our course. If not, we will have an online course available soon.

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