Plot Diagram – End your novel as soon as the goal is reached


Are you struggling to plot your novel?

We found this plot diagram and explanation at Novel Writing Help. We want to share it with you because it is one of the best examples of a plot diagram we have ever seen.

  1. The novel begins with the status quo, in the bottom left hand corner. Nothing has happened yet.
  2. The action kicks in when ‘something happens’ – symbolised by the line on the graph beginning to rise.
  3. The character finally committing to their goal marks the precise point at which the beginning of the novel turns into the middle.
  4. The middle of the novel is represented by the rising line of action. The green zigzags indicate that, although the overall trend is for the action to continue to rise in intensity as the story progresses, there will nevertheless be peaks and troughs along the way.
  5. Generally speaking, the peaks are the points at which the “mini plots” climax, and the troughs are those quieter moments in between the scenes – what I call the ‘interludes’.
  6. The middle ends when the character, in failing to reach their overall goal, hits rock bottom. This is the most intense point of the novel, when all hope is seemingly lost.
  7. The action dips somewhat when the character reacts emotionally to this devastating blow.
  8. But it then rises again when the character, strengthened by their epiphany, goes on to ‘seize the prize’ (or not).
  9. You could, if you want, end the novel right here. Or you could go on to show the new status quo in a final chapter. Keep it brief if you do, though, because anything from here on in is, by definition, anti-climactic (represented by the rapidly falling line of action).

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