Thursday, May 15, 2014

Strengthening your plot

A reader requested one of us tackle the following topic:

How can I make a plot stronger, more enticing, make it stand out from all the rest? It seems my WIP is a bit lackluster and I'd like to make it shine a little brighter...

If there was a solitary answer to this, we'd all be best sellers and rollin' in the dough ;)

But I'll try to help!

First, congrats on even asking this question, because that's HUGE.  :)  It shows you have noticed your story isn't what you want it to be, isn't what you know you are capable of creating, and that's a big step. Knowing something is wrong is the first step to fixing it. Discontent leads to progress, and all that. So kudos on that! :)

I think next you need to dissect what is wrong. Saying you need a stronger plot is pretty vague. What exactly about your existing plot is unsatisfactory? Start there. Is it boring in general? Is it not believable, or feels contrived? Is there simply not enough happening externally?

I believe one way of making a plot stronger is to really tie the external happenings to the internal. For example, if your heroine has a phobia of heights, or water, or enclosed spaces...then by all means, stick her in 'em. Make the plot highlight the character's unique struggle (whether that's fear of falling in love, jadedness over a broken relationship, fears/phobias of external circumstances, fear of failure, mother issues, father issues, etc.)

It's been said before in craft classes to answer the following question - what is the WORST thing that could happen to your heroine? Then do it, and up it a notch. ;)   Seems trite but seriously, there's power there.

Make sense?

As for making your plot enticing and stand out from the rest...that's going to be your unique voice and spin that you put on your story. The plot alone could be on the milder side, but your writing style make it sparkle. Or vice versa - you could have a real adrenaline-pumpin' plot, but if you're not writing with passion and from your heart and really invested in your story, it could come across dull or flat.

Bottom line, there's no simple or all encompassing answers here, but I hope I have helped a little. Feel free to ask more specific questions along these lines and I can try again!  :)

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm....
    Yes, I think that makes sense. I need to read it again when the gray matter is a bit less sleepy, though.... LOL! Thanks Betsy for a strong answer. :)