And so I come to the third and final pillar of writing; the plot. There are essentially two ways to tackle the plot. You can either write the plot out beforehand, or you can go with the flow. Each option has it’s advantages, and depending on the sort of writer you are, it will help the writing flow.
The first option, is to write the plot first. This can be achieved in a couple of ways, either to write it out completely, or chapter by chapter. Having the entire plot set out in front of you, can look intimidating, especially if you are prone to veer of track once in a while. However, the plot is just the basic framework which the story can be guided around. The beauty of writing, is that you do not have to stick to the plot, it is entirely up to you.
Be warned though, veer too far from what you are trying to say, can cause plot holes to appear later on. Sometimes they are easy to fix, others could potentially lead to re-writing half the story. If you veer away, be mindful that you are able to bring it back again. These moments of inspiration need not be feared, as they can turn the story in surprising ways.
Chapter by chapter plotting allows for a sense of freedom that would not otherwise be found using the complete method. A feeling of excitement can be had when about to start a new chapter. Writing without a plot is more risky than with one. You are far more likely to wander off the beaten path and yet, as I have already discussed, these can lead to some wonderful gems. Characters that do something surprising, or where new secrets are revealed can hook the reader into wanting more.
Like characters and the world, if you plan on writing a plot, make sure you spend some time on it. Write down a list of characters appearing in a chapter. Write down a paragraph, at least, of what you’d like to happen in that chapter. Then answer these questions; what are the implications for the story and how does this move the story on? They may sound similar, but they are subtly different. For example, an implication would be that the story moves to a different place. In doing so, it brings the characters to the place where you want the action to take place.
All three pillars, characters, the world and the plot, put together will help create the best story you can write.