In This Chapter
Choosing an engrossing central question
Motivating characters (and readers!)
Dealing with coincidences
Ensuring that your plot stays interesting
Plot (or narrative) is the central thread that holds together all the other elements of your fiction. It’s important because people’s minds process and recall information in the form of narrative. A mere series of dates and events is utterly unmemorable, but a story can stay with you forever. That’s why the earliest pieces of writing in the world are all narratives (such as Beowulf or the Epic of Gilgamesh or the One Thousand and One Nights) – oral stories passed on through generations before they’re finally written down.
You don’t need your whole story plotted out before you begin writing – only the most formulaic stories work that way. Most writers find that the story unfolds as they go. So don’t worry if you sometimes find yourself going down blind alleys or feel that the story is petering out – it’s inevitable. Keeping the story going in the middle of the narrative is particularly ...