You’ve just finished a novel you couldn’t put down. The pacing was spot on and everything about it made you want to keep flipping the pages to find out what happens next. You’re going to be exhausted for work this morning and you really shouldn’t have stayed up until 3 am to find out if they found the killer. If you’ve ever found yourself in this situation, then it’s probably because you were reading a plot-driven story. If you’ve ever considered writing a plot-driven story, you might be wondering what exactly that term means and what elements you need to write one. In this article, we’ll break that down and give you some tips for writing your own plot-driven book.
You’ve probably heard the terms plot-driven versus character-driven stories and maybe wondered what they mean. Like a lot of things in writing, it can be tricky to define because the lines between the two are often blurred. And what feels like a plot-driven story to one person might feel like a character-driven story to another. Which is all a little confusing. In the most basic terms, a plot-driven story is one where the plot moves the characters, while a character-driven story is one where the characters drive the plot. It sounds simple enough, and it kind of is, but also has a bit more to it than that. In this article, we’ll break it down a bit more.
We talk a lot about character development and how to make those paper children of yours come to life so they leap off the page. It’s one of the fundamental aspects of a good story—without characters your reader can fall in love with, you don’t really have much of a story. But a potentially less common question is, how the heck do you go about introducing those fascinating characters? Maybe this seems obvious, or maybe it doesn’t. After all, there are numerous ways you can introduce them into your story that not only tell the reader they exist but also show who your character is. Sure, it can be as simple as walking on and saying “hello,” but it can also be a lot deeper than that.
There’s a lot of to-do about the opening of a story. I mean, writers probably have more practice starting stories as opposed to finishing them. Right? We also hear a lot about that pesky saggy middle when the excitement of the opening is long over and now you’re wondering what the heck you’re supposed to do with these characters. Sure, the opening, middle, and all the parts in between are important, but truly nailing the end of that book is where you’re going to create dedicated fans who are already begging for the next one. And if you want to make a career of this whole writing thing, you have to make sure you leave them wanting more.
The inciting incident is the make-or-break moment for your story. It’s the catalyst for change. It’s the thing that sets your entire tale in motion. It’s the kick in the pants your protagonist needs to force a change in their lives they probably never saw coming. Novel openings are one of the hardest things to nail and you can’t do that without a compelling, disruptive, and logical inciting incident. But how do you create an inciting incident that will carry your whole story?
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There's no easy way to determine how many chapters you should have in your book, but let's figure out how many will work for you.
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There may not be one universal answer to how many scenes should be in an act. But this guide will help you find the right answer for your novel.