Part 10: Plot Diagram and Announcements

Dear Reader,

Isn’t it kind of hypocritical that I write a chapter on determination, and then I take off A Writer’s Dilemma for six months? Granted, it was to finish a novel, but still.

So I was thinking that with this book, I could start really getting into the technical stuff that goes along with writing a story, for all of those people who don’t know the ABSOLUTE basics yet, getting back to where I started two years ago. I have a plan, and now I’m going to be updating every Saturday for a LONG time, so anyone who is interested in reading this can maybe learn something.

Author’s note: Right now, it’s May 2, 2015, but if you are on Wattpad, there are some complications while publishing it and this is available tomorrow to you.

Okay, so I thought I would pick back up where I left off, but I’m going to addressing this chapter to those people who love planning things out, or are extremely organized, or just like to know where their story is going before they write it. Some people like to just sit down and write and see where it takes them, and I totally respect that.

For those of you who can’t do that, or don’t like to, there’s this awesome thing that goes into every story, and it’s called a plot diagram. There are many different parts to it, and I will be going into more detail on each of those in future chapters, but for now, I’m going to introduce you to it. If you look at the photo below, you can see that there are many different things listed.*

Picture

Your story will begin on the left, in the box labelled EXPOSITION. This basically is where you introduce your characters, who they are, where and when they are, and the situation they are in. If you are planning to get your story published (not by yourself) then this is the most important part of your book. Even if your book is amazing, agents and publishers usually won’t keep reading after the first page if they didn’t like it. But don’t freak out because there is plenty of time to polish it up.

Then we travel along the line to that little bubble, labelled CONFLICT. This is introduced early in the story because that’s what makes everything interesting. It is the thing making your character change, or pull them into something that they don’t how to handle. In terms of the Hero’s Journey on chapter 4, this would be the Call to Adventure, Refusal of Call, and when that line starts heading upwards, The Beginning of the Adventure.

For example, I just read The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Amazing book, by the way, and it follows this perfectly. It starts out with a main character who is a little different than others, but within the first chapter is contacted by the FBI. That introduces the change, leading to when she moves into a house in an FBI sponsored program with four other teengers who are like her. That was something that pulled me in, as the reader, in. I read the whole thing in one sitting because the conflict was so interesting, and of course, the book is a whole new level of Criminal Minds.

Next are the rising actions. These are the reason that the climax of a well written story is so exciting. The rising actions build up tension and expectations in the story. Say there was a murder, and throughout the whole book, the rising actions tell you that the girlfriend did it. This builds up an expectation in your reader, but if you throw in a twist right after that, and their expectations were wrong, it makes the story so much better. This also works with making the reader think a certain way by adding in little details here and there to lead them in the wrong direction.

This is weird, but this is the way I think of it: If you’ve ever seen the kid’s movie Monster’s incorporated, you may remember the scene where Sully uses a trail of fruitloops to get Boo, the little girl, to go where he wants her to. He leaves a fruitloop on the ground, she sees it and eats it, and then keeps following the trail without knowing that she is being tricked. You need to leave a fruitloop trail of details for your reader to get them where you want them to go.

The rising actions can go on for hundreds of pages, and in the Hero’s Journey, a lot happens. This is usually when the Road of Trials comes into play, but sometimes the climax may be the last trial as well, since is a good way to transition into the climax. The Experience of Unconditional Love will be in the rising actions, too, and even if those are only two steps, they are very complicated ones.

After this, after all of this tension and expectations are built up, that’s when the climax comes. The climax is when all of the details fall into place, when the reader’s eyes are so glued to the page that they forget that it is just a story. This is when the twists are revealed, when you find out who the real killer is, and make the reader gasp. This is usually the most fun part to write (or at least for me it was) and happens towards the end of the book. In the Hero’s Journey, this would be it Ultimate Boon, and maybe the last of the Road of Trials. It could also be the Experience of Unconditional Love as well, depending on what you think should happen in the climax and what kind of story you are writing.

Help From Without is also a very important step in the climax, and may come towards the end of the climax. I would give so many examples for this step, but I don’t want to ruin the endings of awesome books for anyone. The Refusal to Return, and Magic Flight would also be included either in or in between the climax, and the next step: falling actions.

Falling actions usually don’t take up much of the story. It’s the decline of tension afterwards, when everything is over and everyone is trying to get back to how things were before. This part of the story can tend to go really fast and can last anywhere from ten chapters to a page, because this area is really flexible depending on what needs to be said or explained afterwards. I have a habit of making my falling actions into a second climax by putting the Magic Flight and Help from Without here. I’ve gotten good results, too.

Or I think so, anyway. Who really knows?

Unless you’ve read Looking for Lily, in which you would know whether or not that worked out well…

Moving on.

The resolution at the end would be the Crossing, from the Hero’s journey. It would be when everything is solved and put back together again. Of course, this would be where you would want to add in a cliffhanger for your next book because your reader has a sense of security when everything is coming to a nice close. That’s when you can drop in a surprise that would lead them to the next book, because they won’t expect it.

Otherwise, there is the theme, which is another chapter within itself, if I haven’t already written it yet. And if I haven’t written it, it’s coming soon!

Anyway, that’s basically what I’m going to be going into detail on in the next few weeks, among other things, and I hope this helped.

Also, if you are interested, I am currently in the agent-finding process of publication for my novel, the first of the Code Breaker Trilogy. I also have another novella planned for this summer, around the length of Looking for Lily. I’m planning to release the cover sometime in June… but nothing is definite yet.

Come back next week to read more stuff about writing!

-Kelli

*The link from which the plot diagram photo was found is here: http://www.portnet.k12.ny.us/Page/10210 . I don’t any rights to this photo so I’m giving this website the credit, but you should check out that site for more things like it that can help with writing:)

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