Crafting Plot and Structure

Beginning, Middle and End

Every good story has a clear beginning, middle and end. The beginning introduces the characters, setting and initial conflict. The middle, or rising action, develops the conflict through a series of events. The end includes the climax (where the conflict reaches its peak), the falling action (where the conflict begins to resolve), and the resolution, (where the conflict is fully resolved).

Plan your plot in advance. Outline the key events and how they will unfold from the beginning to the end.

Structural Elements

Understanding and using structural elements effectively can enhance your story. These include:

  • Introduction – Sets the stage for the story. Introduce your characters, setting and initial conflict.
  • Rising Action – Develops the conflict with a series of events that build tension.
  • Climax – The turning point of the story where the conflict reaches its peak.
  • Falling Action – Shows the aftermath of the climax and begins to resolve the conflict.
  • Resolution – Wraps up the story and resolves the conflict.

Think of your plot as a roller coaster ride. The rising action is the climb, the climax is the thrilling drop, and the falling action and resolution are the ride back to the station.

Creating Tension, Suspense or Surprise

Tension, suspense and surprise are key to engaging the reader. Tension keeps readers on edge, suspense makes them eager to know what will happen next, and surprise catches them off guard with unexpected twists.

To create tension, put your characters in difficult situations. To create suspense, withhold information from the reader. To create surprise, add unexpected twists.

Foreshadowing, Flashbacks and Non-linear Structure

Foreshadowing, flashbacks, and non-linear structure can add depth to your narrative. Foreshadowing gives hints about what will happen later, flashbacks provide insight into a character’s past or the history of the conflict, and a non-linear structure tells the story out of chronological order.

Use these techniques sparingly and with purpose. They should enhance the story, not confuse the reader.