How to Plot a Novel

For some of us, the concept of creating a novel or even a short story for that matter is very simple.

But I have learned through my Creative Writing classes that what comes naturally for some does not necessarily come naturally for others. In this post, I will be teaching you how to plot a novel.

The first thing that you need to do when plotting a novel is to decide what you want to write about. Consider writing in your favorite book genre as this will be the easiest and probably most enjoyable for you. Now that you know your genre, it is time to create your character. Some of the things you may want to ask yourself when creating a character are; how old is my character? What is their gender? What do they look like? At this point, you can either choose a name for them or move on to the actual plot.

Part of your plot will be contingent upon your character’s age. For example, if you are writing a YA (young adult) novel, you may want to place the character in a high school setting. Your character’s issues will often be dependent on their age group, but it can also base itself around other factors. Let’s say that you want to write a YA Urban Fantasy novel. In doing so, you have just added additional elements of conflict for your character to overcome.

Maybe your character recently discovered that they are a newly turned vampire. From here, you want to begin questioning your character almost as if you are conducting an interview. Some questions you may want to ask your character are what happens when they go out into the sun? Does your character turn into a pile of ashes? Feel weak as if they are overcoming some long-standing illness, get badly sunburnt? This also goes hand-in-hand with world building. After you’ve finished developing your world, it is now time to figure out the conflict. Part of the conflict may be that your character has to hide her secret from the ones she cares about. She may even have to struggle with her desire for blood as she searches for an alternative to feeding on humans all while trying to pass Chem class and find a date to the prom!

At some point, you will also need to add an antagonist. The antagonist could be anyone from a vampire hunter down to the character who turned her. Just give them a motive. After you have created the antagonist, you will also need to figure out how your character will overcome them. Once this is done, you can work on concluding your book. However, if this was only the beginning for your character, then you may even want to consider leaving the story off at a cliffhanger.

Keep in mind that there are many different ways to craft a good story and this is only one. Take the time to experiment and figure out what works best for you and remember not to rush the process. Becoming a great writer takes time and you’ll become just a little bit better with every new draft.