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Airtight plotting strategies

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on Jul 24, 2017 5:18:34 AM

Here are three ways to develop airtight plots for your next novel:

1. The ending comes first: We've discussed this before on this blog. Writing the ending first is an excellent way to stay focused on your destination. If you know where you're going, you're going to be able to map out a more concise and cohesive journey to that ending. Knowing the destination of your story beforehand will inform every aspect leading up to it.

2. Detailed outline: I once wrote a 120-page outline for a 330-page novel. I made the somewhat unique decision to pick the number of chapters that would make up the book, and I simply sketched out each chapter, connecting the dots along the way. I decided on the number of chapters based on what was typical of the genre at the time. When it came time to write the novel, I had a reason for every decision I made, and if something needed tweaking along the way, it was easy to do because I knew so much about the story and characters before I started the first draft, which, with the exception of a few minor changes, was essentially my final draft.

3. Detailed timeline: Plots don't always follow a straight path. A great example of this is a film titled Momento. It follows the story of a man who can't retain any memories, and each new day requires him to relearn things he had known before with the hope of finally getting to the end of the mystery. It's told in a seemingly disjointed jumble of repeated scenes, but in reality, it's an ingenious example of a plot that develops out of the normal "B" follows "A" storytelling method. The only way this can be achieved is to map out the disorienting timeline before you start writing because as disjointed as it may seem, the reader (in the case of a novel) has to have a revelation that you had a plan going in. You didn't just throw things together. You knew exactly what you were doing the whole time.

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Richard Ridley is an award winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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