Writing Your Manuscript - Plot
Updated: Feb 7, 2019
Ben Kesp Academy
You are in the process of completing your manuscript, be it a short story, screenplay, novella, novel, poetry or a work of non-fiction.
It can be difficult for writers to say they have completed a piece of writing. Is it ever finished? There is always that paragraph, that story line, that character, that just might need a bit more. Writing can be challenging and fun at the same time. However, there comes a point where the writer must say “it’s done”. For many, this can be years after they first began.
What are plots? A plot in literature is what pulls the reader into the life of the character and understands why they make the decisions they do. Plot structures how the elements of the story are arranged.
There can be different variables driving a story but firstly let’s have a look at the difference between a plot and a story, which our characters find themselves a part of. Edward Morgan Forrester, (EM Forester) English novelist, short story writer and essayist in his Aspects of a Novel (1927) defines that “stories are events that happen in chronological order and the plot is the casual and logical structure which connects these events together”.
There is a distinction between story and discourse, with the latter being how the story is altered through the narration. Discourse is only what is available to the reader as this is how the story is revealed. When analysing discourse we understand whose point of view the narrative of the story is presented.
As a writer, you will decide how you wish to approach the creation of plots. One plot will lead to another one and that is one reason why the original draft of plan you wrote will change and alter over time depending on the outcome of the plots.
We could consider plot as discourse, as it connects the events of how the story is to be revealed to the reader. However, with the case of many stories, we can have multiple plot lines running simultaneously involving different characters through the telling of the story. This makes for more interesting reading and more complex writing, engaging the reader. Often an event in the story or a character can drive the outcome for the reader.
Nothing in a novel stands alone. Everything is intertwined – characters, plot, dialogue, environment, etc. Characters will make a choice which in turn will affect the outcome of the plot.
As a writer, you will have the choice of how you wish to construct your plot. If you were to break your plot into 1, 2 & 3 – you can begin with 3 and then move onto to 1 and 2 or begin at the beginning with 1 and move onto 2 and 3. This will be decided on how you wish to approach the telling of the story. You are the writer and you can experiment with what works best for the story you are telling.
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