The plot of a Fantasy novel can take many forms. It can twist and turn in so many directions it may be difficult to stay on track. The first thing you need to keep in mind that most novels will have the same basic frame: Introduction, Main Issue, Solution, and End. You will find that there is much more to a plot than just those four points. You will find that you'll add secondary issues, all of which need solutions, and events that lead to the growth of your protagonist.
The introduction is exactly that. It introduces your protagonist, your world, and the feel of the novel. It will likely be a very descriptive section of your novel however, it is important to not overload the reader with information. Doing this can get tedious to read and may confuse the reader with details that may not necessarily need to be told. Your readers are not stupid; they can work some things out for themselves. Remember your first chapters are the most important of the entire final product, you need to make them something special and intriguing. You don't need to give all of the required information at once. Keep the reader wondering to an extent. Don't worry too much about getting this right first time as I have said in my 'Writing the First Draft' post. You can change this later. Trust me, you will change it.
Main Issue and Solution
Your main issue provides the foundation for the plot. The main line of you story needs to revolve around how this issue hinders your protagonist then eventually how the character deals with the problem. Depending on the nature of your novel your issue could be romantic, life-threatening, political, or endanger existence itself! Before you commence the writing of your manuscript you need to know what your main issue is and how it will be resolved. Does an evil villain kidnap your protagonist's loved ones? Is the world about to be destroyed by a natural (or unnatural) phenomenon? Does you protagonist make a dire mistake which he will struggle to correct? The ideas are unlimited. Try to come up with an issue that will require quite creative measures to overcome.
So you have your main story line but it's not much fun to read a novel that merely follows an unchanging character from start to finish without any detours. Everyone knows that in reality, nothing would progress that smoothly. Your character may change and grow either for good or for bad. A character can't do this without trials to force their change. Perhaps they find love or lose it, discover a weakness or a strength, or are suddenly placed in a life-or-death situation. All of these events may change the character in some way and give the story a more natural course. The important factor to remember when adding these detours is whether they will add to the entertainment value and course of the novel. If they don't improve the novel then let them go.
Let the Protagonist Take the Lead
Many authors will find that even with a structured outline prior to writing their first draft their protagonist will begin to take over. If you have created your protagonist well with a background and believable personality, events will pop to mind and write themselves. Don't try to stop this from happening. Quite often you will find the character grows on their own. Just because events don't occur exactly as you planned doesn't mean that they won't work. Worry about that later.
As you come up with your plot it is quite helpful to outline, jot it all down and see how it ties together. Read my last post 'To Outline or Not to Outline' for more about this. Happy writing everyone!
Scarlett Van Dijk
Image courtesy of jannoon028 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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