Tag Archives: How to plot a novel

Y for Young Adult Fiction #AtoZChallenge

The fault in our stars, looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, Mocking Jay, The Maze Runner, Perks of being a  wallflower and the list goes on and on and on! This era is the Young Adult Era where the all the more rare genre became the pepping hot genre of the global literature which includes Indian literature as well.
There are writers and authors I know who are gifted with the capability of jumping across genres and succeeding in every trial. There are a few who would choose to write a novel in the genre of the year. If you’re that, here is what you need to write a Young Adult Fiction.

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Here is the good news! Young adult is more of a target audience defined and the marketing strategies are also defined.
You can write a story so flexible where it is more like a thriller in which you can add elements of horror or fantasy or romance as per your choice.
Even adults these days read young adult fiction, as it is more like rewinding what is history!
So the age group of your audience is 9 years to 17 years or more.
If you have a plot in mind, and you want to flesh it out as a young adult fiction, here is what you need to concentrate on:
  • Generally, the protagonist is a young person falling under 15-18 year old
  • Use first person narrative
  • Pepper teen language throughout; don’t use sophisticated words that look bizarre. This also depends on the world building – a story based in the US will have a different language than a story based in a small interior town in India
  • Usually younger generation is well-known for the drama; they are usually narrow-minded and think of extremes so ensure that you use exaggeration. Even a forgotten record note would make them panic, if they fail in exams they would probably plan to run away from home. Use this properly!
  • The conversations need not be crispy and straight on face like those in Agatha Christie books. They usually speak with less or no analogies and use long sentences; they plead and fight a lot. Tap conversations, they are confidence in what they are and just do what they feel like doing – you can’t convince them, so tap immature talks and stubbornness.
  • Understand the hormones, and emphasis their keen nature – teens are very keen about things – right from sex to science. Add meat!
Hope that helps! Ensure that there is a vast different between Adult fiction and young adult fiction, research well, and pen down.

P for Plotting #AtoZChallenge

Most of us think plot and story line is the same thing. Or, we just elaborate the same thing in different ways. If they are one and the same, why two different terms though? Yes! They are different.
Plot – Main Events of the novel arranged in a manner such that it has twists and turns, with tinge of drama or emotions or thrill.
Story line – Chronological order of what the novel is all about.
To put them simply, plot is watching the movie and story line is your friend narrating the 3 hour movie in 3 minutes revealing all the twists well in advance. Thank me later 😉

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Baby steps of plotting
  1. Define your protagonist, and add meat as of his reactions to every frigging thing that he or she would cross in the novel. Note all the directions possible with respect to the travel.
  2. Take your character through twists, turns, and new developments to reach the final stage of the novel
  3. When plotting – tighten the scenes adding more details, the character traits, engage more and add more thrill because only you know what happens next, not the reader. Don’t let them guess! – What’s the fun? 😉
How do we plot?
Have a clear motivation of what you want to convey in this novel. Structure it out. Add more sub-plots which adds more meat to the story.
  • X and Y get married in the end – Plot
  • Sub-plots:
    • X went through a bad relationship before
    • Y was skeptical to propose for long
    • X waits for Y to propose
When creating sub-plots, it is almost like diving chapters and hence, ensure to do the following.
  • Readers should feel the urge to flip the page – when do they feel it? When there is something out there to figure out.
  • Play a guessing game with your reader – give them food to think
  • Add suspense elements and add a mild action that would be seldom noticed, but makes sense in the end
  • Meaty reactions by characters
  • Don’t get lost in the middle – don’t add extra meat to add pages – write what’s required
There are numerous worksheets available online for plotting and there are pretty good number of online courses, resources, that would help one to plot better! If you find it difficult to plot, try books on plot prompts for the same.

O for Outlining #AtoZChallenge

More often, we start our novels from a small spark and keep it growing. Sometimes, it gets clumsy and the end product would be something totally different from what we expected. It is not wrong, but maybe, if you try properly outlining the novel, it would be of great help to not just finish the novel but finish on time because you know what you’re writing. I did this clumsy mistake of starting at a point and not knowing the travel of the story with my first novel, but with my second WIP, I have improved a lot on this.

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So, let’s outline – the silver line of the cloud! Let’s do it.
One best way to outline is using the snowflake method. I have covered it in methods of writing! Check out!
Or use the Freytag’s Pyramid – jot down the one-liners that would cover under each part of it.
Even if you’re a panster – if you work on outlining, it would help you overcome the writer’s block. Trust me! It works. Anyhow, the outlines are just as flexible as ever, to alter according to the flow.
Things to ponder and write down first:
  • Write down the important characters
  • Pen the important scenes that you want to cover – there are times that we have a scene in mind than the actual story plots. So put them down.
  • Chapters – divide them into chapters, and divide the meat accordingly. Figure out ‘what’ you’ll cover ‘where’ this will avoid any spill at all
  • Also, tunnel them. Divide your sheets and pen down the different tunnels or paths you have in mind and let the story choose the road to travel to complete the maze
Doing this will help you find loopholes, blunder mistakes, research requirements, and there are thin chances to discover a new plot or a sequel plot.
A person who outlines their novel will be curious and interested, this would make them write faster and publish sooner than usual or planned. You can use mind mapping or sticky note mapping.
Software like Scrivener helps a lot in outlining, you can also do the same in an excel sheet or a word document at ease.
I have outlined my next novel and it is coming up really well! And am so thrilled about it as it falls under dual timeline and is a different take and leaps beyond my capacity.
Quickly open an excel sheet and start outlining! See ya!

F for Freytag’s Pyramid #AtoZChallenge

So, you want to become a writer? You don’t know how to plot them? – Here is Freytag’s pyramid. The ultimate pyramid that you would help you to plot better in order to write better. You can Wikipedia “Gustav Freytag” to know more about him.
Exposition: The start of the story where you just introduce the main charfreytagacters, what they do, where the world setting is, etc. basically introducing the reader into the story line.
Inciting Incident: The first conflict that acts as a hook to take off the story from the initial introduction towards a promising change
Rising action: The game changer, building the excitement of the story totally that surprises the reader with interesting scenes, conflicts, changes, etc..
Climax: The intense part of the story. The top notch that needs more information to decipher.
Falling action: Events post climax, where things make better sense with the tensions created getting resolved one by one
Resolution: The main conflict of the story gets resolved
Dénouement: The last part of the story where all the remaining questions, the mysteries, are solved by the character or just narrated by the author as an epilogue.
To know how this can be used. Pick any book, and read it once – note down the exposition, rising action, falling action, climax, and Denouement. Repeat this with books that fall under the genre that you’re writing. Read the book for the second time to get the tactics of how the rising action was built, how the hints and various major details were peppered as minor details that makes much sense at a later part of the story.
Repeat this when writing a novel to ensure that your novel has no loopholes or pitfalls! Tighten your manuscript with good rising action and falling actions.