In this 1-hour writing workshop we create a fantasy story plot using randomly-generated elements. Why not take some time to sit back, relax, and learn how to plot a novel on one page? It’s fast, FUN, and it can change the way you view stories forever!
With NaNoWriMo around the corner I was wondering what I could offer to help you WriMos new and old…
Eventually I landed on the idea of filming another plot demonstration. You may have watched my previous demos if you’re on my email list; they’re probably my favourite spontaneous writing exercise and using pretty stationery this time made the process even more fun! :)
If you’re struggling with your story idea or plot right now, grab a piece of paper & PRESS PLAY!
How to Plot a Novel, Novella, or Short Story
This video covers:
- Why a plot, outline or plan is helpful, even if you consider yourself a “pantser”
- How to plot a novel using one side of a sheet of paper
- A bit about archetypal plot structures
- The simple way to create a character arc
- The 8 story stages and how they fit together
- How to work with fill-in-the-blanks example scenes
- Plotting order vs. Story order
You will need:
- A sheet of paper
- A pencil
- An eraser
- A pair of scissors
How to Plot a Novel with the One Page Novel Method
Here is a quick overview of the 8 stages mentioned in the video:
THE ONE PAGE NOVEL works by plotting out of order, so the first thing we do is decide who our character will be at the end of the story. To do this, we can simply select one or two “states”, such as: wealthy, fearless, loving, sociable, etc.
The next step is to turn the character’s Resolution state into its opposite. This gives us their state at the start of the story, and allows us to create a strong character development arc. For example, a character who’s wealthy at the end of the novella would begin poor, a character who is fearless would start out scared, etc. The Stasis will show the character in their ordinary, everyday life, exhibiting these states.
Next, we find the turning point between the Stasis and the Resolution: this is the stage at which the character realises how they can make the transition from their old ways to their new ones, in order to fulfil their goal or create a new, better goal.
The Trigger is what sets the character off on the story journey. This is through either internal or external motivation, or a combination of both.
The Quest is the stage at which the character gets sucked deeper and deeper into the adventure. They meet new people, visit new places, discover new problems, and take on new responsibilities. Some of the people they meet may be shapeshifters, and they will need to be sorted out from the allies. These allies will form a plan and put it into action. Usually, it won’t be a very good plan but the character will go along with it because it’s the best plan they have.
The Power is the counterpart of the Quest. It acts in reverse and extracts the character from the world of adventure. This is where the character truly understands that they’ve had the power to change into their Resolution state all along. They make the change and fulfil their original or altered Quest goal.
The Bolt is the “bolt from the blue” that derails the (already weak) Quest plan. This could, for example, be the point at which a shapeshifter’s betrayal is discovered, or when the allies realise that they’ve critically misjudged their opposition. It can also take the form of a diversion or delay that takes the character’s focus away from making progress on the Quest.
The Defeat is the moment when all hope is lost. The Quest plan that faltered in the Bolt has now completely fallen apart. The Defeat follows on from the Shift, and often involves an essential sacrifice that the character must make in order to attain their Resolution state.
Note down 2-3 scene ideas for each stage.
Remember, once you begin writing your novel, you’ll tackle these scenes in STORY ORDER:
Enrolment is NOW OPEN!…
If you would like more guidance with this method, you can click here to enrol in the full course.
How to Co-Write a Plot
The One Page Novel is a fun method to use to collaborate on a story. Below, you can watch me plot a murder mystery LIVE with over 100 writers.
After you watch the workshop and understand the basic process of creating your rough plot, you may want to…
- Work on rewriting and expanding your synopsis.
- Consider how much detail you want in each plot point. Sign up for the free novel outline for more practical exercises to help you with this.
- Make more notes about your story – you may want to list the characters, the places, and a rough timeline.
- Journal about your novel idea so you remember why you love it!
- Create a more detailed outline using a novel template, or…
- … start writing the first scene!
- The GENERIC CHEATSHEET can be found in The One Page Novel Workbook in The Coterie
- The GENRE CHEATSHEETS are a course exclusive. You can access them when you are enrolled in The One Page Novel Online Course.
- Plot Formula Post
- Novel Outline Templates
- Free Novel Outline + Training
- The One Page Novel Online Course
- How to Be the Heroine of Your Own Story Online Course