You have a list of things that need to happen in your story. Now what does it take to glue all of these into a cohesive plot?
I mentioned a few things in my last post and now is the time to think about them and how they fit into your story. You have your genre, setting, time frame and characters with apparent relationships (these relationships can be subject to change in the story) in place. Now comes the fun part.
What is/are the characters goals and how will they achieve it? What obstacles will stand in the way of him and his goals? And what color is the bow that will wrap up the story? (Tip: Decide if this is part of series, because that will help decide the color of the bow.) Another thing to remember is the ending is not always happy for the protagonist.
Take these things and consider the obstacles, big or little, when do they serve their optimal purpose in the protagonists journey. An extreme example in my story: I can’t have the infant son kidnapped before he is even born. It will definitely have more of an impact after we see the king’s love for his son and how the infant fits into the overall story. Maybe when the king trusts the kidnapper or when the kidnapper is angered by something the king has done.
This is the point where the timeline tool comes into play. You need to figure out the sequence of events so everyone is where they need to be when they need to be there.
In my current w.i.p I had a wizard in two places at once. My critique group (they are very good usually) didn’t catch it, but thank goodness I did. There was a simple solution; I just had the wizard leave one place to go to the other. If I hadn’t some reader would have caught it and my credibility as a storyteller would have been in question. Timelines can be tricky things, but well worth the effort to have a vague idea ahead of time, so you don’t have wizards in two places at once.
In my next post I’ll talk about ratcheting up the tension and fighting through to the end.
Until next time happy writing and God Bless,