The biggest mistake most new authors make when developing the plot of a novel is neglecting character arcs. Talk to any seasoned author, and he’ll tell you that the character arc and the plot progress go hand in hand. Simply put, characters drive the plot.
Let’s dig deeper and figure out the best way to develop a plot without ignoring character arcs.
Developing a Plot Requires Homework
Developing a good plot requires research; it is one of the most effective tools for drawing the reader into the book. For instance, you cannot write a readable medical drama without a good understanding of medicine and the procedures involved. An extensive understanding of the subject will also allow you a stable and authoritative narrative voice, making the story more believable.
So, what should you be researching?
One of the most crucial aspects of fiction writing is the setting or backdrop. It is essentially the time and space in which the story takes place. Your novel may have a compelling plot and well-developed characters, but it is incomplete unless the reader is given a sense of place.
Assuming is the worst thing you can do as an author. This blunder can easily be avoided with a little homework. The information you obtained while evaluating the setting is a good starting point. All that remains is for you to piece together these scattered pieces of information while ensuring that they do not contradict one another.
Outlining Character Profiles- A Key Aspect of the Story Development Process
The best stories are not only about dramatic events; they’re about people. While a good narrative can help you create intriguing twists and turns, great characters draw readers in by connecting with them.
The key to good story development is writing believable characters, and this you need to get right before you start outlining the plot. Have a rough idea of what your story is about? Outline the personality type of each prominent character in your book, their motivations, quirks, and temperament included. It’s essential; this determines how they react to situations and makes them more relatable.
Start developing the plot
Start developing the plot, one chapter at a time. Don’t worry about wording the story at this stage, and just focus on keeping the plot moving. This is where the character profiles you had previously outlined will come in handy. Why? Because the story progresses based on how every key character reacts to a given situation. An unfavourable reaction or an ill-timed reflex is bound to complicate things for the protagonist and consequently influence the chain of events that are to follow the scenario.
Pro Tip- Use A4 sheets, a new one for each chapter. The idea is to assign an independent sheet for each chapter. This will allow you the freedom to rearrange the sequence of events at a later stage and finalise a pace that’s ideal for your story. Additionally, you can add plot twists as you progress deeper into the plot.
There you have it, folks- Developing the plot– Tips for plotting a gripping novel. Let us know what you think about the post by leaving a reply in the comments section. Also, check out our article on Proven Ways to Become a Bestselling Author.