I started a discussion of the Elements of a Great Book. In my last blog, I began an in-depth look at the plot, and I will continue the conversation – because a weak or missing plot is something that can nullify all of your writing. It doesn’t matter if your prose is brilliant or your punctuation spot on IF you or your readers cannot identify exactly what your protagonist is up to in your story.
After you’ve ascertained that you indeed have a plot and decided that it is strong enough to sustain an 80,000-word story, you need to move on to other ways to evaluate how your plot affects your storyline development.
Is the plot introduced early enough? The term ‘bury the lead,’ applies here. If you meander about the weather, what your main character is wearing, and the setting for too long, the reader has absolutely no idea where your story is going. The plot’s introduction is usually where your MC’s life is turned upside down by your ‘inciting event.’
The inciting event begins the quest for your character to solve the puzzle, take the journey, or find something – including themselves. When the event happens, it needs to be apparent to your reader. Without your readers understanding the goal or event, they haven’t a clue about your plot.
Before you tell your reader about the present situation and how things have changed, it is quite usual to give the reader some information about how things were up until that point. But BEWARE. Too much backstory can bore your readers to tears.
In my next blog entry, we will discuss the role of the Antagonist in the plot and using the setting to advance the story.