I am a plotter and I love it. However, there are so many ways to carve out a plot, but for me none works better than the 3 Act Method Novel Plotting Method. It the perfect way to ensure that there is no soggy middle, your story makes sense and gives you the freedom to allow your novel to go where it wants to.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a story consists of a beginning (Act 1), middle (Act 2) and end (Act 3). When you plot your novel you split it up into these three sections and work out what happens in each.
It helps you write your novel by breaking it down into manageable chunks, instead of an overwhelming mass of words and it gives you goals to achieve as you focus on each part separately.
Many of you may think that by plotting out your novel you are taking away the fun and the inspiration from your writing, but that is just a misconception (to see why click here). The way in which I perform the 3 Act method gives your characters room to create their own destiny and lets the plot go where it wants- but more on that below.
- Element 1: Context
For instance, in the first book of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Clary is just an ordinary girl who is living in an ordinary city with her mother. There is no magic or demons. It is essentially like the world we are living in now.
- Element 2: Plant the seeds
An example of this would be when Clary starts to draw runes everywhere and her power manifests itself a little bit. She doesn't pay to much attention to it, but she does notice it and think it is strange.
- Element 3: Turn the world upside down (the problem)
The problem in Act 1 would be when Clary meets Jace and the whole shadow hunter world is revealed to her, breaking her perception of the world she grew up in.
- Element 1: The choice
For Clary, the choice must be made when her mother is taken by Valentine. She wants to get her mother back and the only way is to join the Shadow Hunters.
- Element 2: The why?
For Clary, this would be when she finds where her mother has hidden the mortal cup. Her major goal of the first Act and half of the second act has been achieved.
- Element 3: The point of no return
This moment would be when Valentine gets the mortal cup. This terrible act could destroy the whole shadow world. Clary has no choice but to try and stop him.
- Element 1: Climbing the mountain (the plan)
For Clary, this would be when she is trying to formulate a plan to get the cup back from Valentine.
- Element 2: Reaching the top (the climax)
In the Mortal Instruments, it would be when Clary storms Valentine's strong hold, finds her mother, fights valentine and discovers that Jace is her brother, however most importantly Valentine gets away with the cup.
- Element 3: Coming down the otherside (the resolution)
At the end of book 1 of The Mortal Instruments, Clary finds her mother (the major goal), but is left reeling over finding out that Jace is her brother and that Valentine has fled with the mortal cup (loose end).
For instance, plot the beginning in it's entirety and write out all those scenes (click here to read why you should write in scenes and not in chapters). Once you have finished Act 1, then proceed to plot and write Act 2. While you are doing each Act try not to think ahead to much, that way if your plot changes you don't have to go back to fix up your entire outline over and over again! Take it from me, before I learnt about this method, I stopped and changed my plot 3 times. Using this has been the best decision I've made for my book, especially since my characters like to rebel against what I have in store for them.
Did you like this post? I hope you found it informative! If you want to give it a try let me know, I'd love to hear from you. If you've done it before tell me your experiences below.