Hi, I'm kind of new to planning out my writing, My story needs conflict and I'm not quite sure how to go about structuring a plan, If you have any tips or ideas I would much appreciate it. Thank You xx
I’m normally not much of a plotter, but I’m giving it a try on my current project. I’m using Tara Ison’s Story Maps method and it seems to be working out so far!
You can also try out 1000storyidea’s zigzag method, in which your characters keep moving closer and father from success.
I use Scrivener for my writing, so I’m able to organize chapters based on the different steps in the Story Maps structure. This helps remind me where in my arc I’m supposed to be.
Here is a super pro-tip! Break down the plot of a novel you’ve recently read. As a class assignment, I had to break down the plot of a novel using the Story Maps format.
It took a fair amount of time and ended up as 2 pages of describing the novel’s plot, but it really, really helped me understand plot on a deeper level!
I made a Word doc version of my breakdown so you can see what I mean. I analyzed Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, and there ARE spoilers! (Click here to download)
At the end of the day, the main takeaway is that you need to make things difficult for your character. Keep throwing things in their way that push them farther away from their goal. Sometimes it’s a case of “one step forward, two steps back”… and that struggle is what builds conflict.
As another general rule of thumb, it’s good to start stacking up problems to build up the tension. Meaning, don’t introduce a problem in chapter 1, only to solve it in chapter 2. Instead, let that problem simmer for multiple chapters, all the while you keep introducing new problems that build up and really put on the pressure.
- Here’s a nice and simple infographic to help you get started
- And here’s a link to CC’s “plotting” tag which has many more resources to help you out :)