The Writing Newbie

Writing is an adventure. Enjoy the journey and write the way you love!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Plot Lines

A plot line is really just the sequence of events that occur in a story. Basically your plot line is a really short version of your story, which tells the most important events in your story. It’s the main line that your entire novel is about.

A lot of writers get an idea that just pops up in their heads. Then they nurture that idea and let it shimmer in their heads until they have a good idea what it’s about. Then they start thinking up the plot line and the major events that will happen with the character. Once they have everything thought out and in order, they start writing a first draft. It’s a really handy way to reduce the moments of being stuck.

Other writers (me included) just have a vague idea, or simply a character or a scene in their heads and start writing from there and see where it goes. They don’t have a plot line and must think of one while they are writing. If you like to work this way the plot line will probably gradually reveal itself to you. But if you get stuck all the time, perhaps it’s best if you think ahead just a little bit, so that you can keep writing!

When writing long stories (novels) it can be very difficult to maintain an interesting plot line. It’s also very easy to cram in too much, or have long periods where nothing happens. You often lose track of everything that happens. What can help you is to write your plot line down. Just experiment a bit and find a way that works for you (for instance a time line, memo’s, a large white sheet of paper on which you scribble all events, a summary of what your book will be like, etc.).

In order to keep your plot line strong you have to make sure that enough things happen, but not too much so that the reader doesn’t lose track of all the events happening. If your writer number one, who plans everything out before hand, make sure that enough interesting things happen, but keep them to a minimum. Once you start writing you’ll probably add more things as you go along. If you’re writer number two, keep the main story line in mind, or start thinking about one once you’re some way in your book. If you don’t lose track of it, your reader probably won’t either.

Always make sure that you re-read your story several times and cut out anything that doesn’t really contribute to the story or slows it down. Removing the clutter keeps your story line fresh and strong.

The basic most used story line goes like this:

Introduction—the reader gets to know the character, the setting of the story and some basic background information. Here the reader “falls in love” with the character and starts to care about him/her.
Rising action—something happens that throws the live of the main character off track. An event or opportunity occurs and it sets the story in motion. The main character will become involved in a struggle for something, you´ll get to know his objective and the problems that stand in his way.
The climax—this is often the best, most exciting part of your story. It’s usually pretty short but here the character meets head on with all his problems. It often reveals the missing links in the story and the secrets are revealed. It’s the part where Cinderella looses her glass slipper and the clock strikes twelve.
Falling action—this is often the result of the climax. The most exciting part has happened, the things the character had to face have been faced, and the action slows down. Slowly everything is getting solved.
The conclusion—loose ends are tied together and the story comes to an end. It’s the conclusion of the story, the happily ever after.

Forget everything I just told you.

Well don’t really forget it, but don’t dwell on it. Not every story has to be like this. You can have a story with two climaxes or no real introduction (but just weave it into the story) you can experiment around a bit with your story. Keep it interesting and original! If you really get stuck though, this basic plot line can be a fall back that can support your storyline.

If you really worry about whether or not you have an original plot line, just write down the main events. Make a short summery of your story. Now you have your plot line in front of you. Read it. Read it again but now with every event that occurs think: “Did I think of this myself? Can I have been influenced by other books? Do I really like it? Have I read it a million times before?”
If you answer those questions you can probably tell if it’s original or not. If all your events seem to be unoriginal that doesn’t necessarily have to be a problem. It could be that the events separate aren’t really that original. But together they make a fantastic, original story.

Remember that a lot of things have been done before. It doesn’t have to be 100% original. It’s alright to write a story about a young boy going to wizard school. It’s alright to have a story about a vampire falling in love with a human girl. Just make sure the boy doesn’t have a lightning scar and the vampire doesn’t sparkle in the sun.

With other words; make it your own. Make it original. Think up your own wizardry lessons, make up your own vampire rules. And create your own story line.
I hope this helps you out a bit! If you have other opinions or questions about this please leave them in the comments!

This was a request from Broken Angel. I hope it helped you out and I hope you liked it! Everyone thanks for reading! Please leave comments! And any requests or questions are very welcome!
Have a nice summer everyone!

Keep writing!

Xx LordKiwii


  1. Hi LordKiwii,

    I don't know much about writing and when I read your blogs I do know why ;>)

    But I'm a proud aunt and I love you.

    Tante Marion.

  2. Today is my first day of the summer holiday!
    I'm going to try and finish my first novel this summer, but haven't written in 9 or 10 months..
    Any tips on how to get started again after a (very) long period of not writing?

  3. Hi! Do you think you could do an article on showing, not telling? I'm having a bit of difficulty with that.Thanks!

  4. I am looking at your blog cause my cousin Erica follows you i thought i could and i like to read and write books and stuff