Plot defines the happenings in a story. In other words, plot tells us- what happens in a story. We get to know the flow of events in a structured manner. We can also say that it is the basic structure or the skeleton on which a story is built.
This structure is divided into three parts-
In order to fully understand the meaning of the plot, we’ll take up all three parts one by one and see how a story is built.
1. Beginning- This is also known as Exposition or Introduction or the set- up of the story. It is during the beginning that we as writers bring forth our characters and the story setting. Writers also introduce the main problem also known as the conflict faced by our protagonist.
For example- In my novel Virago, I had introduced my protagonist- Radhika Mishra. The place where the story is initially set- Jaipur, and the conflict that Radhika was facing- A troubled marriage and a profession she didn’t want to be in.
A reader gets a general idea what’s the story about and how is it going to flow in the later stages. It is also the part where a reader decides whether to continue reading or drop the book. A writer needs to ensure that the beginning is interesting so the reader doesn’t think of giving up.
2. Middle- This is usually the most challenging part for any fiction writer. After writing an interesting beginning, a writer needs to tighten the hold on her story. Unfortunately, at times the opposite happens and the middle part of the story sags.
Here, a writer adds more complications in the life of characters especially, the protagonist or the main character. Also, many new characters and places are introduced in the story. A writer even adds a few twists in the plot to make it more interesting and paves the way for a jaw dropping ending to the story. But despite the efforts sometimes the middle is not as exciting as the beginning.
Here are a few tips that might prove to be useful-
- Keep your main character’s main goals clear in your mind.
- Don’t try to over complicate things.
- Don’t make it too lengthy. In other words, don’t drag!
- Introduce characters which make sense. What would an astronaut do in a ballroom!? So, think before you act upon introducing new faces in the story.
- Change the location. For example, In Virago, my protagonist moved from Jaipur to Delhi and then Mumbai during the middle part of my novel. That kept my readers interested.
3. End- Also known as the resolution or the climax of the story. If your reader has made it till here that means he genuinely liked your work and is waiting for (like I say) a jaw dropping end. The ending should be as intriguing as the beginning because, it should make your reader want for more. End is the part where all falls into place. In other words, the conflicts that the characters were facing in the middle part are resolved. Also, it opens doors to some new issues which can lead the way for a sequel.
Let’s continue with Virago- Radhika’s issues were resolved- She became an actress, all the allegations were dropped and she got the complete custody of her son. Even the antagonist got what he deserved. (Want to know more? Read the novel. J)
But writing a perfect end can be tricky. As a writer keep the following in mind while writing the end-
- Stick to your characters goals and desires.
- No conflict should remain unresolved.
- If you are planning for a sequel, ensure that you give enough hints so that the reader is not left baffled.
- Happy endings are not mandatory. Although they are preferred.
Once you’ve written all the three parts, it’s time to put it all together. That makes your first draft. Yayy! Job’s not over yet. After you’ve finished writing your first draft, read it to ensure that the events are properly placed and that you haven’t missed out on any key point. There should be a solid beginning followed by a clear middle and an interesting end. No event or part should overlap. Once you’ve done this, give a pat on your back J
I hope this article was helpful. Please share your valuable feedback with me.
Chandini · June 6, 2020 at 2:17 pm
This is so helpful
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