The Power of Plot

Things like Ideas, Characters, Attractive Power and Emotional Commitment usually take place in the scenes or chapters of a work, or build up cumulatively over the length of a story. But most stories need a framework upon which to hang these things. The interesting thing is that these frames normally come in a standard shape and do similar things. Even in an Irony, in which the very standardness of things can be subverted, an author can only go so far 'off the rails' without spoiling the story-power of the work itself.

Calling plots ‘frameworks’, though, suggests that they are static things and that the real importance or power of a tale rests elsewhere. This is not true: a good plot is made of energy itself. These questions should help you to see how you are dealing with plots.

1. Are you happy with the plot structure of your work?

That means that you are content specifically with the way that the story proceeds, its pace, its twists and turns, the revelations that occur on the way, the choices given to protagonist to engage the reader, and its overall conclusion.

2. Do you experience plot construction problems?

If you have any difficulties with any of the above, they can usually be broken down into those categories listed: the pace of the story may need adjusting using a precise mechanism used by master authors through the centuries; the twists and turns may need revitalising, and the way in which certain things are concealed and then revealed may need examining, using another specific mechanism, and so on.

Too often writers who struggle with plot problems do so because they fail to see that a plot is a combination of engineering elements which produce certain effects, including momentum, mystery, morality and meaning.

3. Are you concerned about the