As mentioned last time, plot is the significant events and incidents that happen in a story and how these events relate to each other.
But how do you create a plot?
Can’t you just string some events together for your character to muddle through? You could do that, but that story structure generally results in episodic writing. An episodic story is one where there may not be a story question driving the plot (Story question example: Will banished Thor regain his family status and get his hammer back to save Asgard? The story question implies the beginning, middle, and ending of a story). Episodic stories are like soap operas. They don’t have a particular beginning, middle, or ending. They just roll on and on in little dramatic episodes which usually express some theme (Luke Spencer has loved Laura Webber on General Hospital since 1978 or thereabouts…).
So how do you create a plot?
Let me ask you—what kind of book are you writing? I ask this because plot requirements vary by genre. Think about it this way. Crime fiction needs a crime. Romance needs a meeting between love interests. And the plots of those two genres focus on different things. If you are writing crime fiction and there is no crime, the reader won’t be particularly happy. If you are writing a romance, and the focus is on the WWII rather than the love relationship, the reader won’t be particularly happy.
Now, you can totally have a WWII story that has romantic elements and includes crime fiction elements, but how you work out the plot will dictate the focus of the story and the kind of book it will be. It’s the genre that will dictate the kind of reader you will reach (I am assuming that you are writing a story for someone else to buy and read).
There are different processes and techniques you can use to help you work out your story’s plot and structure. Moving forward, we will focus on those processes and techniques.
Meanwhile, give some deep thought to the kind of book that you want to write. If you want to write a genre story, realize that each genre has specific plot requirements which readers expect. Realize that even non-fiction books take their readers through information in a particular way in order to meet reader expectations.
Know the kind of book you are writing before you write it. That may seem obvious. Unfortunately. for too many beginning writers, it’s not.