Plotting Your Story When Writing Creatively

By Maggie Hamand

Part of Creative Writing Exercises For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

When writing your story, plot is essential in holding together all the other elements of your fiction. Here are some tips to help you structure your creative story:

  • Write the opening scene. Go back over it and see whether you can find a good opening line.

  • Write four different openings: a philosophical statement, a description of the scene, a line of dialogue and jumping right into the action.

  • Write the central question of your narrative in just one line.

  • Write down what your main character wants more than anything.

  • Write down all the things that will get in your protagonist’s way.

  • Make a list of twists, turns and surprises that may come into your story.

  • Write down some big decisions your character will need to make, and then explore three different choices for each one.

  • Create time pressure in your story by introducing one or more deadlines.

  • Raise the stakes for your main character by making the desired goal bigger and the consequences of failure more serious.

  • Sketch out some key scenes – literally. Divide each scene into four parts and draw simple pictures of what happens. Now write the scene.

  • Write a scene that ends with a cliffhanger.

  • Create complications by bringing in new characters to create subplots and introduce new themes.

  • Write the climactic scene of your story.

  • Write down four different endings: one happy, one sad, one open, one with a twist.

  • Write a page of possible last lines.