How to Develop Your Story Idea into a Plot

Here are some insights concerning story ideas and plot, tailored for the writer of plot-dominated stories or genre fiction.

Tarot card showing a knight on horseback

The hero of your story faces change and must struggle against a villain to reach a clearly stated goal.

All stories start with an idea, but an idea is only the kernel, the seed. The way to transform an idea into a story is to generate a plot. Within the context of your idea, begin with a moment of change for the main character. This has power because change of any kind is threatening. Right away, the reader wants to know how your character will deal with the threat. Therefore, the realization of change is the point where your story begins. To work well, the change must be of sufficient depth and seriousness; it must matter to the character; it must be something the reader can relate to and identify with.

In essence then, a situation exists, but something important has changed. The main character is threatened. Their position is no longer secure. They vow to struggle. They choose a goal and take action towards achieving it. Bingo! The story is underway. Once things are moving, the main character must encounter a variety of difficulties, complications, and opposition. Make sure there are many fights (these can be merely verbal). The main character, or “hero,” needs a rival, the “villain,” with goals that oppose and conflict with the goal chosen by the hero at the beginning of the story.

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