Friday, May 03, 2013

(Craft): The First Plot Point

plotpointIf you’ve been writing fiction for any significant length of time, you’ve undoubtedly heard the term “plot points”. Plot points are those moments in your story when a major shift occurs in the protagonist’s life, causing her to re-evaluate, regroup, and change course.  

Of all the plot points in your story, the first one is the most important. Why? Because the first plot point is the place where your story actually begins. It is that point where your story takes off. Everything before the first plot point is simply setup for the first plot point.

The first plot point is the place where your protagonist’s life is turned upside down. From the first plot point forward, your protagonist must now fight to turn her world rightside up again.

The first plot point or major shift in your story must appear about a quarter of the way into your story.  According to story structure expert Larry Brooks, “you don’t get to say when that shift happens in your stories.” (Story Structure Demystified). Story structure demands that the first plot point be placed at approximately 25% into your story. This precise placement is based on the natural laws of storytelling which, in turn, are based on the natural laws of the human psyche.

So, whether you’re working on a current story or starting a new one, be sure that your first plot point is in the right place. The success of the rest of your story largely depends on this proper placement.


Photo Source: Microsoft Clipart 



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