Story Plot Structure with Author Rhianne Williams

Hey all, we’ve got another guest post for you today. YA and NA writer Rhianne Williams is here to give a crash course in story plot structure!

Story Plot Structure: What You Wanted To Know But Didn’t Know Who to Ask

We all love stories. But what we love more is a story that’s told well. We can listen or read such stories for hours on end. The plot of the story is one of the elements that make a story worth reading and taking the time to develop your plot improves the quality of your novel. For that to happen, you need to conceptualize your story.

What Is a Story Concept?

Answering this question is more show-and-tell than offering an actual definition. Here’s the show-and-tell definition of a story concept.

The civilian way of developing a story for a novel is pretty much linear. Get some interesting information, slap what if in there, and poof! A story.

But the civilian approach doesn’t hold up in the world of literally awesomeness. You need a stronger suit of tools than constantly asking yourself what if?

In this world, you need solid foundations for your story. You need a combination of four elements:

  • Genre

  • Main character

  • Opposition

  • Micro-environment

Here’s how these elements work.

Go with a mystery story (genre), set in the 18th Century (micro-environment), where a male doctor (main character), pursues a psychotic killer (opposition) who killed his wife. Now instead of asking what if statements, train your brain to ask focused what if questions. The what ifs should influence your genre, opposition, main character and micro-environment.

Let the questions guide you on the kind of genre that best suits the facts you have so far. They should also guide you on the type of opposition your main character should face. Then ask yourself, what would happen to the story if you removed the main character from the story? Would the story go on? What would the disappearance of the protagonist have on the micro-environment?

Rearrange the answers to these questions to form a story concept to base your concept on. With these four elements in place, you have a strong foundation for your novel’s story. The focused what if questions are a treasure-trove for coming up with strong story lines and concepts.

You only need to remember to focus on people, events, places and things in your novel. Combining these elements in your novel with tidbits of science, history and even news and some bit of information can make for some great stories.

Here are some best-selling novel ideas based on these elements. Dinosaur DNA collected from mosquitos (Jurassic Park), unique history of a place (Hawaii), and a paralyzed crime scene (The Bone Collector).

Rhianne Williams is a Young and New Adult writer with an obsession for fantasy, adventure and romance. Little Novelist (http://www.littlenovelist.com/) is her corner of the internet where she hopes to inspire and help other writers in all aspects of writing and blogging. When she’s not writing or at her day job, you’ll usually find her with her head in a good book or enjoying time with family and friends. You can get a free copy of her Generating Novel Ideas Workbook by signing up here: http://www.littlenovelist.com/novelideaworkbook

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