“I watch it for the plot” was a pretty famous meme a few months back but it’s true that it is the most essential part of a story. Especially in fantasy novels, where the plot is often twisted because of the abundance of characters and places, there are many ways where writing becomes a total mess!
So here, I’m gonna help you create a plot that will hopefully solve this problem. Hold on tight! It’s gonna be quite a long read.
By the way, This is tailored more towards fantasy, but it’s actually applicable to any form of story telling.
First of all, you must know the template of a good plot. Yes, I know story making is supposed to be a free art form but there are certain “rules” that make a story appealing to a human reader.
Components of a plot
The typical plot consists of four components: Introduction, Rise, Conflict, and Resolution.
This is where your main character and most of your supporting characters as well as your geographical locations are first shown. Your story begins here. Show the readers what your main character is doing, how he ends up being called to adventure and so on. Don’t put a lot of backstory here yet. In this part, you only need to introduce the characters and the places that will play a role in your story
Now here is where you can add a few backstory. This is where your character development becomes exponential. Show off the backstory and history that brings your character to life.
But don’t overdo it! Because the Rise’s primary function is not character development (though it is and essential part of it) but it is the bridge between the introduction and the Conflict.
That means this is where your characters will start develop tension, growth, drama, romance, mistakes and so on that will lead to the climax later on. So make sure that you plan things right here so that it’s a smooth ride for readers from A-Z. Remember, every part of the story is meant to keep the reader engaged!
Conflict is the gist of your story. This is the part where things get the most exciting! It’s further divided into 3 subparts: the Drop, the Re-empowerment and the Climax.
Let’s start with the Drop. This is usually placed at the center of the story. Here, you will give the main character or situation the most devastating outcome. This will render your characters powerless. Hence it is the turning point of your story.
Then comes Re-empowerment! For some reason, your main character discovered a new found strength or support that will overcome his dread during the drop.
With this renewal, the main character can finally rise up and battle against his enemies! He can finally conquer the trials that was placed upon him. This is the climax: the main fight that will determine the ending of your story! Make it exciting and different. Make it exhilarating and intense because remember, this is the most important part of your story. So make sure you get this right!
The best example of a perfect “Conflict” I’ve ever seen and read (in my personal opinion) was “The Battle of The Bastards” scene in Game of Thrones. Now I don’t want to spoil it here because it’s just that good! But go and check it out. It has all the components of a good conflict.
Now that the fight is over, you have three options: your character won, lost or you make plot twist (plot twists are hard. It’s not necessary for you to have one for it to be a good story. But if carried out nicely, it’s amazing! But I’ll talk about it on a different day)
So whatever the outcome will be, the resolution part shows the reader what the consequence of the conflict is. Maybe they won the war and the kingdom was finally renewed with life and light. Or maybe they lost and the soldiers were imprisoned as slaves. Whatever it is, give your story a good ending that reflects the consequence of your conflict just now.
How do I make the plot more interesting?
Let’s go a level higher. Now that you know how to create a plot, build 3-4 plots within the same parameters of your story. Each plot would circle around different characters and/or locations. This will be called your sub-plots.
Now here’s the fun part. Intertwine them all into a single timeline that will lead to a single climax! Make sure despite them being intertwined, make sure the flow of “intro, rise, conflict and resolution” is still the there.
Remember those movie scenes where we have a quick look at what’s going on in another place or what the other character is doing? This is where it happens. Be careful though. It’s a very delicate process. Make sure the flow is nice and it makes sense for the plots to lead up to that one single climax.
Done? Good. Now get to writing your book! It’s not easy, but with the help of a plot design, you’ll be able to write with ease and have less writer’s block to get in your way.
I hope this article helps you! It sure did for me when writing my own epic fantasy. I’m also improving my plot building skills together with you. Life’s just one big journey of learning, right?
So I wish you all the best in your writing and have a nice day!