Whether you are writing a novel, non-fiction or business book plotting is important. Its more obvious in a novel but all of our books should include stories and plotting is a compulsory ingredient in all stories.
What is a plot?
A book’s plot is the sequence of events that takes place in your book or story. It is the WHAT of your book. They cannot be random – there must be a cause-effect relationship between the plot points.
How should we plot?
Writers don’t always plot in the same way. There are two main types of writers:
Plotters are the planners of the writing tribe. James Patterson is known for producing extremely detailed and lengthy outlines for his books. JK Rowling has been known to produce spreadsheet types grids to map her scenes. There is a huge range of plotters who fall somewhere between the two.
Pantsers get their name from ‘fly by the seat of their pants’. Authors like Stephen King start with a character and a situation and simply start writing. The plot develops as they write. Margaret Atwood is another well known pantser. They prefer the creativity they consider comes with that flexibility.
These examples show that there is no way wrong way to write. It all cases plot is critical to the success of any story but how we get there is up to us all individually.
One easy way of plotting your novels that may work for those of you who prefer some level of plotting before you start writing is the Snowflake Method.
Write a single sentence describing the core of your novel. What is it about?
The second step is to extend this sentence to a paragraph. Expand on your idea – who is your main character and what is it they want to achieve?
Expand this paragraph to half a page and then to two pages adding in key points such as:
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