Finishing your First Draft - Day Six
Now that you could basically teach a college class on characters (I have that much faith in you), it’s time we spoke about plot.
Even though characters are the lifeblood of a story, you need a fantastic story for them to live through. Let’s be real: no one will finish your book if your plot stinks.
Every story is unique in its own way, but storytelling as a whole has a particular flow to it. You don’t start with the climax, right? Otherwise nothing will be as exciting as page one.
Have you ever had someone try and tell you a story that seemed to meander and then flop when there was no big payoff?
That’s because stories need structure.
Luckily for us, there are things called story structures. If you want the complete rundown on story structures, click here to read about the best structures out there. As you’re developing your own writing style, it will only help to figure out which structures click with you and which don’t.
At the core of most storytelling, however, is the time-tested three-act structure. The three-act structure works so well because it mimics our natural storytelling process: there is a beginning, a middle, and an end.
But a good story has more than just those three parts. So we’re going to go over the different aspects–or story beats–of the three-act structure. While reading about these, imagine how your own plot mirrors these beats (because spoiler, the vast majority of stories do… even the best ones).
Story beats are essential scenes or collections of scenes that progress your story forward in a way that makes sense to readers. It doesn’t mean you’re copping out or disregarding creativity, far from it.
Take one of the beats from the third act: the climax. Every story has a climax. If your story isn’t building up to a big moment, most readers aren’t going to enjoy it. So understand that structures are more like guideposts to help you tell your story, not some limiter of creativity.
With that in mind, click here to read all about the three-act structure or read Chapter Six for a detailed breakdown of this foundational structure.
It’s not just about reading though; you’re here to write! So make sure you finish the not-homework from Chapter Six and write a few sentences (for pantsers) or a few paragraphs (for plotters) for each story beat of the three-act structure.
To do that, create a new Note in your Book Roadmap, and title it Story Beats. Copy and paste the following beats, then add in all the details you want for your story:
Act One: The Setup
Plot Point One:
Act Two: The Confrontation
Plot Point Two:
Act Three: The Resolution
It should look something like this:
Trust me, you’ll be astounded with how much this simple action will add to your story.
Tomorrow, we’re going to take what you do and show you how to use it in Dabble’s amazing Plot Grid. For now, do some exploring of the Plot Grid in your project. Make some new scenes, a few Plot Points and Plot Lines, and get ready to harness this powerful tool. For some more info, you can click here.
And get ready to bring your plot to life tomorrow. See you then!
Doug from Dabble
Book marketing. Those two innocuous words instill fear and loathing into the hearts of so many writers. You just want to write your books and have them sell themselves. Why do you have to tell people about it? Well, Susan, because you do. I know you want to write, but if your goal is to write, publish, and make money from your books, then you’re going to have to find a way to make them visible. Thousands of new titles are uploaded to Amazon every single day. Millions of books are being published every year, and no matter how good your story is, without marketing, there’s not much chance very many people will find it.
What kind of writer are you? Are you the sort who writes a meticulous outline that tips into the five digits or the type who sits down in front of a blank sheet of paper and lets the words pour out of you like a runaway train? Did you know there are specific terms for this kind of writing? Writers will come up with words for anything, I swear. Plotters are the first type of writer. They like to have detailed outlines that tell them exactly where their story is going. Pantsers are the other type of writer, which is kind of a weird name, but the term was coined by Stephen King (a famous pantser) to describe writing by the seat of your pants. Cute, eh? There is no right or wrong way to write your book, and I’m going to repeat this so many times. The right way is the way that works for you.
Dystopian fiction is one of the darker subgenres of science fiction and fantasy. It takes us into dark, foreboding worlds, where oppression and bleak landscapes are the norm. Books like 1984 by George Orwell, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley have become classics that shine a light on political corruption, environmental disaster, and societal collapse.Why do we love these stories? Maybe it's because dystopian fiction allows us to explore worst-case scenarios, to grapple with the idea that the world we know and love could be lost forever. It's a way for us to confront our fears and anxieties about the future, to see what could happen if we continue down a certain path.