by 50K or bust
points of plot by far the best list I have seen so far in my reseach
1.Story Goal--- Different for each character, but what is the goal the main character is working towards? Example: In the Wizard of Oz Dorothy is trying to get home.(added by another contributor)There are often several goals, simultaneous or otherwise, within a work, and often they are the goals of various characters, including the main characters and sometimes even secondary characters. Sometimes, these story goals are related or processional, but sometimes, they can be contradictory depending on whose goals they are. i.e. Dorothy's three friends, the Good Witch Glinda and the Wicked Witch. Each has a goal.
(Note: After taking a class on moving from short story writing to writing a novel, the addition of a Life Changing Event is a must in every novel. In the case of Dorothy, she is angry at her aunt and uncle. She makes a decision to run away. In the case of The Hunger Games, Katniss takes the place of her sister to represent her county in a "to the death" contest. In Sarah's Key Julia finds herself pregnant and her husband is not happy about it and wants her to abort. Sarah chooses to hide her brother by locking him in a secret room. The event may be subtle or a main part of the story, but it must be there to drive the rest of the goal. )
2.Consequences-What would happen if the story's goal was not achieved? examples in WizOz- Dorothy would forever be searching in the land of Oz, Auntie Em would have deep sorrow as she loved Dorothy, there are others you can find. You need to find that concequence that keeps the main character moving toward the goal. In Hunger Games, Katniss must win or it will mean starvation for her family. In Sarah's Key it is finding that the apartment she is moving into is the one Sarah lived in and its history remained a family secret. Her in-laws secret.
3.Requirements-What must be accomplished in order to reach the goal? Poor Dorothy had many requirements; reach the Emerald City, find the good witch, defeat the wicked witch. It seemed there was a new one all the time. That is what keeps a reader reading, but too many and the reader will lose interest. Always move the character closer to the goal each time. Harry Potter is a great example. Why do we keep reading? We want Harry to defeat Voldemort. If Harry can defeat the 3 headed dog will he win?
4. Forewarning(s)- What is shown to move the story closer to the requirements?-makes the reader anxious that the consequences will occur before the protagonist can succeed? The monkeys get her, Dorothy falls asleep in the poppy field. Harry has to save someone all the time, growing until he is accomplished enough to defeat Voldemort. Will Dumbledor's army be found in the room of requirement?
5. Cost-What sacrifice(s) or pain will have to be suffered in order to achieve the goal. Dorothy has self doubt, almost loses Toto. Each of her companions have their costs and sacrifices as they move to their goals. Fear is something we all experience. Whether it is the fear of failure, rejection or just being made fun of, it can be crippling.
6. Dividends- rewards that the characters receive along the way. They are something that the characters would not have received unless they took the journey to the goal. Dorothy makes friends with the Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man, she learns a lot about herself, she is strong and she cares about others. Harry masters more magic, finds a family with his uncle and the Weaslys. Katniss finds supporting friends and love.
7. Prerequisites-events that must happen in order for the Requirements to happen. Dorothy must do what the Glinda says, get the red shoes, follow the yellow brick road, reach the Wizard. Harry must accomplish his school work in each book. Without passing to the next class he will not remain with his friends. School work is a must and it teaches the young reader that schoolwork is important. Katnis must train, she must accomplish the feats put before her, fail and she would go back to her home.
8. Preconditions- conditions laid down by certain characters that make it more difficult for the goal to be achieved. You are getting the point. Find these aspects in your story, they maybe part of a side story as in the part of the wicked witch and munchkins. We know that Dorothy has to find the red shoes, The Wizard gives her a edict also. In the Harry Potter series there are many, School restrictions, they have a curfew, They cannot go into the forest. Harry is remanded to the school because he can't get permission from his guardian to leave. All these things are put into the story to thwart the MC and the sub characters from achieving their goal(s).
When you fill out all these 8 points you will have a great frame from which to hang your story.