This week we're going to be talking plot. Now, I'm sure most of you know plenty about plot so I'm not even going to try to explain it other than a basic definition.
Plot is more than a series of events...it's like the frame of a building with the building being the novel. Plot moves chronologically, it begins in one place, moves through time to another. Events are related to each other. For a plot to be effective, the intensity of each event must be greater than the last.
If we wish our plots to have a feeling of increasing intensity then we have to make our readers care about our characters. The character's problems must be serious/significant and they can't just be solved with no effort on the character's part. There needs to be struggle, defeat and them some more struggle.
So...as you start thinking about your story's plot, make notes about what your character wants, what events can take place to hinder your character's journey and give your character some challenging.
In How To Write A Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, he says something to the effect of find out the worst thing that could happen to your character...then make it happen.
And while I know this is very good advice, I have a hard time torturing my characters. What about you? Do you find yourself protecting your characters or do you torture them?
Oh, for more on plot, check out the book Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell. This is an excellent book and has exercises at the end of each chapter to apply what you learn.