Having amazing, relatable characters can save a story (which we discussed how to write in the previous posts in this series). But we don’t want to have to save your story at all. We want to amp up its awesomeness and keep readers interested!
So, in this last post in the series on how to keep readers interested, we’re going to talk about plot lines.
- Learn about plot line
- Tell me what you want to hear about next, now that this series is ending
- Use a plot line in your own book
I actually wrote a 3-part series on plotting your story previously (linked to later in this post) which was extremely popular. This post is still worth reading, however, for a few reasons:
- I wrote that old series right before I learned about the 3-act structure
- I’m taking a different angle on it now
- We aren’t talking about how to plot; we’re talking on plot line and how to keep readers interested.
So What Exactly is A Plot Line?
The plot line is the plot that the story follows. I’m not even entirely sure why it’s called a plot line, since all good stories plots have their ups and downs; if it was one straight line, that would be very boring.
But I digress. (Doesn’t that make me sound super professional? 😜)
The plot line is made up, essentially, what they teach you in school. Beginning, middle, end. Introduction/exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution.
Disclaimer: I found this from Google; in no way do I own this image, claim it, or am monetizing it. Based on the copyright on the image, Clever Prototypes, LLC owns it. Just thought I’d put that in there. 👍
However, plot can be so much more complicated than is shown. I mention some great resources concerning plotting on my Resources page, but, as I mentioned, we’re not talking about plotting today. (But if you want to see those, make sure you’re subscribed! You’ll get the password to the page, which changes every month)
Plotting VS Pantsing
I wrote my first 3 1/2 books by pantsing. I say 1/2 because I stopped halfway through the 3rd book in the first trilogy I wrote. So I’d written 2 1/2 books. The 3rd book was the first draft of The Triad of Caosdif. So, while you’ll see me talk about plotting, I actually come from both worlds. In fact, sometimes I really wish I could kick plotting to the trash and just let loose on the page.
However, the reason why I refuse to give up on plotting is because of why it’s so important. With a twisty plot-line, you can keep readers hooked. We don’t want it to be the straight line that is show in the graphic above (that, again, does not belong to me); it should have a lot of dips and rises in it – and maybe a couple of backtracks.
In real life, nothing is easy. And it shouldn’t be for your character either. They should fall, almost give up, and be pushed to the breaking point. But they must also have their wins, to give the readers hope.
A book with an amazing plot line is Fawkes. I really was hooked while I read the book, eventually becoming completely unsure of where it was going to go next and what was even right or wrong. That is what a good plot line is like.
- How to Plot Your Story: The 15 Parts of Plot
- How to Plot Your Story: What the Parts Mean
- How to Plot Your Story: The Actual Plotting Part of this Series
The Plot Line
This post really made me pick my own brain, whilst thinking through a headache. (wrote the first draft the weekend before finals, because obviously that’s a fantastic idea. 😂) To truly utilize your plot line to keep a reader interested, you’ve got to give them questions. This was actually last week’s post in this series, so I won’t touch too much on it. But to get the reader to keep going, they’ve got to be wondering, “What’s going to happen next?”
Honestly, the more you think about this, the more it ties in to most of the other posts in this series. That’s why I posted this one last. It ties everything together.
Now it’s your turn!
Check out my other posts on plotting, and make sure your own story has its own super amazing plot line! You’ve got this. 😃
We Made It!
Though it took use quite a while since I was posting only every 2 weeks, we made it through my series! Just a reminder: I’ve going to make some pretty awesome resources for my Resources page that are too long to be blog posts, so you’ll want to be subscribed to get those! The stuff I’m preparing as future blog posts are going to be awesome, so you’ll also want to stay tuned for that! 😉 *sets off fireworks that spell ‘SUBSCRIBE!’* (which you can do here) Yay for my subtle plugs.
Do you plot?
Did you enjoy this series?