Every story has a plot, and oftentimes, the best plots are planned out WAY before the author gets started writing. Having a set plan ahead of time can help organize your ideas and result in a better execution of them.
There are eight key steps to creating your plotline: characters, setting, conflict, resolution, rising action, falling action, turning point (climax), and theme.
When crafting characters, you need to decide who the main protagonists and antagonists of your story are going to be, their names, possibly a backstory, and what they look like. A key point to remember here is that the antagonist isn’t necessarily a person. It could be something as interior as depression.
The setting is just as important. Figure out what time and place the majority of your work will be in, then begin to work on whatever other various whereabouts you may transport your characters to.
By conflict, I mean the main struggle. What is bringing the protagonists and antagonists to head? Further, is the conflict interior, exterior, or both. An interior conflict is one which takes place within the protagonist’s mind, like a battle with mental illness, self-doubt, etc. An exterior conflict is one outside the protagonist’s mind, like a war with an opposing kingdom.
The resolution is what clears up the main conflict. Now, that doesn’t mean the results of the conflict can’t create new struggles, BUT the resolution is how the original fight ends.
Rising action includes any events leading up to the climax. Oftentimes, these events become increasingly intense, culminating in the turning point. They prepare us for the main conflict of the story to reach its worst and thus, include much discord themselves. There are sunny patches throughout, too, as are needed for developing the storyline as a whole.
Falling action includes all the events following the climax and typically ties up loose ends of the story.
The climax or turning point itself is where the main protagonist and antagonist finally and completely face off, or it is the moment for which the audience has been waiting.
Lastly, the theme is any lesson learned throughout the story. There is usually one to three main themes in a work. It is important to decide what theme you are using for your work ahead of time because the lesson portrayed is the main goal of a book. Yes, books are made to entertain and amuse, but what gives them lasting value is the wisdom they impart.
In conclusion, it is paramount to construct a plot worth reading when you are an aspiring writer.