Reply To: The Place of Plots

Forums Fiction Plotting The Place of Plots Reply To: The Place of Plots

Emily Waldorf


Here you go! I’m not totally happy with this, but I don’t feel like I can go any further without checking back with you.

Characteristic Moment–Emotional core: longing (What is the MC’s idea of the good life. Show us who that character is at the core.)


Jade, longing to become a ballerina, and keep those she loves from harm.



Inciting Incident–EC: brokenness (Show us how the world is broken. How the MC is broken. This should at least have begun by the end of the first chapter.)


Something should happen. The Haven decides to enter the Earth of Peace, perhaps? Which makes her dad decide to fight against them.


Obstacles–EC: discovery and frustration (This is the main body of the first half of your story. Show the MC discovering things, and how she is becoming frustrated with the way she is going about her goals).

Her father fighting with the Benevolents. Here is a good time to set things up. Show the different aspects of the world in preparation for later. Show us how bad the Benevolents are, and what the cost is of disobeying them. Show us why Rosemary becoming a doctor is bad. Introduce characters. You don’t want any characters introduced in the second half of the book, if you can at all help it. (Unless you’re Tolkien, which you might be, but I don’t know that yet.)

Show her developing relationship with Tray (?)

Show the tension between her and Mara

Set up Rosemary, Isaias, Mara, Victor, and Tray’s characters. And Jade’s father’s.

IDK what it’s like in your story, but in the synopsis you gave me, Jade isn’t very active. Honestly, there was more about Mara than Jade—which is fine, but you need to give Jade more of an active role. In your synopsis, things just happen and Jade reacts. Even when her father dies, Isaias is the one who is being active.

Jade exploring different ways to protect her father, Rosemary, and Tray. I would have her father almost get himself killed, and she be able to save him somehow, either by intervening with the Benevolents somehow, or by keeping him from doing whatever it is. Maybe she hangs around and cuts the fuse on his bombs.

Also, how is she pushing hard to become a ballerina? What difficulties, tensions, discoveries/frustrations is she finding there?


Midpoint–EC: realization (This is where your MC sees herself, the world, and all her previous goals/actions in a new light and has a goal-shift. That doesn’t mean that she gets a whole new set of values, it just means that she discovers that she was pursuing her goals the wrong way, and now decides on the right course of action.)


Father is executed. There is supposed to be a plot twist here. I’m afraid I’m terrible at plot twists, but when reading your plot thing, I expected all of it. You need to have somebody be a traitor, or all the people she thought were good are actually bad, or *presto* time travel—JK—oooh, hey! What if she thought Mara was a friend?????

I don’t know how Jade would shift her goals, b/c I don’t know enough about her yet. Obviously, her goal is to be a ballerina and keep her friends from getting hurt, but how she was doing that before and how she plans to do that after the midpoint is a mystery to me. If it is to you, too, then maybe we can figure out a way together, but I don’t want my fingers too much in your story. 🙂


False Victory–EC: Joy (Your MC starts to act on those new goals. And is winning!)


However Jade decides to change her mode of approach for helping Tray and Rosemary. Also, was she trying the wrong way to become a ballerina? How does her approach for that goal change? Here is when she achieves that goal. Everything seems to have stabilized. Rosemary is not going to become a Doctor, Tray is safe (Or was Tray never un-safe? Maybe his getting Culled is a total shock to Jade. That’s also a good move).

Victory marries Mara, trying to keep her safe.

Jade begins her ballet tour? (You said all this happened on the Day, so maybe she can’t begin her ballet tour yet).




Low Point–EC: defeat (Everything the character has worked for crashes down around them, and their greatest fear comes upon them)

Rosemary is made Doctor, Tray is Culled, and…this should all somehow be Mara’s fault. Jade is forced to leave in the midst of all of this, to do her ballet tour—just when Rosemary, her mother, and Isaias need her most. (I have no idea where Isaias is in all of this. Friend of Jade’s? Boyfriend of Rosemary’s? Dance partner?) Ask yourself, what is Jade’s greatest fear?



Climax–EC: sacrifice (The character sacrifices something. It doesn’t have to be permanent, but it does have to be important. I believe there is supposed to be a second plot twist here.)


OK. Jade needs to sacrifice something. Because of the SuspenseTM, I don’t know everything that’s going on here, and I also don’t know Jade very well. Does she quit being a ballerina? (Is that even possible in this world?) this is where she gives up, really or seemingly, all she has been working for—to the end that it actually accomplishes what she has been working for.


Resolution–EC: satisfaction (Show us how the character has changed from the beginning. Leave the reader satisfied)

This does work with a story like yours with a dark or sad ending. (You know how satisfying A Tale of Two Cities was. Or, better, Hamlet, if you’ve ever read that play.)

Just make sure the dawn of the ending makes people want to read the sequel.



Okay! suggestions from what I know of the story (they could all be things you’ve thought of, and I just don’t know):

I think it would be cool if Victor was a second MC. Or, you could have Mara be a second MC, even though she is a villain—either way, if you decide to go for that, they need to figure into the outline more.

You need a sacrifice for Jade.

Jade needs to be a little more active in the driving of the plot. I sort of did this when suggesting that she snuff out her dad’s fuses or whatever, but she needs to be actually helping her friends—especially after her dad dies. Hey! That could be part of her post-midpoint goals. She decides trying to prevent their harm isn’t enough, she needs to ACTUALLY prevent it. IDK. Food for thought.

Also, have you ever watched either Top Gun: Maverick or Avengers: Infinity War? Because I plugged Top Gun into my outline template and your story reminds me vaguely of Infinity War.

Quoth the raven, "Nevermore!"

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