So, you wanna be a writer? What is a plot?

When we are talking about writing, we often throw the word plot around quite a bit, but what precisely is a plot?

Simply put, a plot is a sequence of events that are connected to one another through causality. Causality is the relationship between cause and effect; when one event makes something else happen, and that event, in turn, makes something else happen.

Plot is the what of the story (the characters being who, the theme is why).

For example;

A husband finds his wife dead and then drinks himself to death through grief.

The husband’s death is a consequence of the death of his wife and the grief that overwhelms him. The two are connected.

What are the elements of a plot?

A plot, generally speaking, has five main elements:

The introduction

This is the beginning of the story, where the characters are introduced and the setting is established. Usually, the main conflict, or problem, is introduced here.

Rising action

This is a series of events leading up to the main conflict of the story. They are connected by cause and effect and are usually set in motion by a triggering event. The events in this part of the story tend to escalate up to the point of the climax.

The climax

This is the most intense part of the story. This is the turning point, the part in the story that makes the reader wonder what will happen next.

Falling action

This is the part of the story where events begin to resolve and the consequences of the main characters’ actions are shown.


The conclusion of the story.

As you can see, a plot has a beginning, a middle and an end.

When you’re writing your plot try and picture a thread that links all the major events together. The thread directly links one event to another, the second event is a result of the first event, the third is related to the second and first. It is helpful to remember the words “and so this happens” when you are plotting.

In summary, then, the plot is a series of events connected by cause and effect. It explains the chain of events in a story and connects the actions and events in a logical way.






Dragon Rider – Part Seven

Dragon Rider

Chapter Four Continued

Funestus Black

Funestus remained still and quiet for a few moments, his gaze almost unable to leave Drake’s face.  Eventually, he sighed and slipped into his chair.  ‘Please, sit down.’

Drake did as he was asked.  ‘Let’s just cut to the chase.  You need to find a book?’

The slight curl of Funestus’ lips hinted at a smile.  ‘Alright, as it seems you prefer straight-talking.’  He sighed and placed his elbows on his desk, bringing his hands together as if in prayer, ‘Yes.  I need to find a book but this book is not just any book, it-‘

‘And you want me to find it?’ asked Drake, his patience even shorter than usual.  ‘Surely you could buy someone qualified to do your dirty work?  I don’t find books.’

Funestus’ face lit up with a crooked smile.  ‘No, I suppose you don’t,’ he said, leaning back in his chair.  He studied Drake in silence for a few moments, before continuing.  ‘But as a Bounty Hunter you have the skills required for such a task and as for your heritage,’ he said pointing at Drake’s face, ‘that can only be a bonus-’

‘Why not the dwarves?  They’re bounty hunters.’

Funestus cackled.  ‘The dwarves?  Yes, well, what can I say?  I need someone who can actually do what they’re supposed to.’  He reached into a drawer in his desk and removed a tattered notebook.  He turned its stiff and groaning pages, his blonde hair flopping over his face and covering his pale blue eyes.  ‘I need you,’ he said dropping the open book on the desk in front of Drake, ‘to find that; The Emerald Key.’

Drake looked at the notebook; its yellowing pages revealed a delicate sketch of a green book decorated with the silver crescent of a moon superimposed upon a flaming sun, and strange symbols and text, foreign to Drake, were scribbled all around it.

‘That’s a sketch of a book, not a key,’ said Drake.

‘Indeed.  Let me explain,’ said Funestus, standing up and striding over to the heavily draped curtain.  ‘What you must understand Drake, is that The Emerald Key is not just a book,’ he pulled the crimson velvet curtain back slightly to peer out into the deserted street beyond, ‘it is a key which can unlock all of the secrets of the universe.  It is the first book ever to be written and it contains all the spells, rituals and names of power that you could possibly need to control everything and everyone; humans and Faeries alike.’

‘One book can do that?’ asked Drake, the scepticism thick in his voice.

Funestus turned abruptly.  ‘The Emerald Key can do all of that and more!  Someone without inborn magickal ability can wield magick by using this book.  They can control absolutely every demon just by uttering their true name, can summon the Beasts of Hell at will!  Reincarnate any dead being!  Everything, everything,’ said Funestus, now lowering his voice again, ‘would be within that person’s grasp, simply there for the taking.  Every selfish whim or desire could be accomplished in the blink of an eye-’

‘Do you know where is the book is now?’ interrupted Gizmo.

Funestus shook his head.  ‘No.  It has disappeared.  The trail disappears with this notebook.’

‘Maybe it doesn’t exist, or maybe it’s been destroyed,’ said Drake, unmoved by Funestus’ outburst.

Funestus ignored him.  ‘It is critical that I find that book…if not…well, the consequences are not worth thinking about.  In the wrong hands, it would be a ticking time bomb, a weapon of devastating power that could destroy the whole of the human race.  He swept across the room and sat back down at his desk.  He took a deep breath and steadied himself before continuing.  ‘For your help, you would receive this,’ he said, reaching for a silver case that lay at his feet.  He dropped the case upon his desk and clicked open the clasps.  He swung the case around to face Drake and Gizmo.  ‘One hundred and fifty thousand pounds.’

Gizmo’s mouth dropped open.

‘More than you could possibly make in ten, maybe even fifteen, years.  Find that book and all of this is yours, Drake.’  Funestus turned to Gizmo, ‘Think about all of those adorable children that you help Gizmo.’

Drake remained quiet, unfazed by the sight of the money.  ‘I don’t know.’

‘What?’ asked Gizmo turning in his chair to face Drake.

He shook his head.  ‘I don’t know.’  Drake’s gut feeling about doing this for Willow was not good and now he had met Funestus, and the conversation had progressed, the more that that feeling had grown.  It was now clear to Drake that Funestus wasn’t interested in Gizmo or Willow finding the book, it was Drake he wanted.  Trouble was, Drake didn’t know why.

‘You do realise Drake, that, as the Chief Enforcerer, I have the power to banish you from Devilsgate?

Drake nodded.  This had been a bad idea coming here, putting himself on the radar of the Law Department.  He may as well of run around with a big flashing neon sign on his head.  All of his plans…

‘I could make life really difficult for you Drake and what about the Lost Souls?  Blood will be on your hands.’

‘Drake, you have to help,’ pleaded Gizmo.

‘I can help you Drake.  You do this for me and I will protect you and the Lost Souls.’

Drake felt hot.  He could feel the pressure building behind his eyes, he felt like a tiger caught in a trap, with only one way out; into the hands of the hunter.  ‘I don’t know-’

Funestus stood up.  ‘Well, I am rather busy this afternoon.  I don’t want to push you out,’ he said, moving to the front of the desk, ‘but I do have guests waiting for me in the other room.’  He swept to the door of his office and turned once more to look at Drake and Gizmo.  ‘One other thing.  It has come to my attention that other, more unscrupulous people, are after the book…’  He let his words dangle in the air, like an angler waiting to tempt a fish with bait.

Drake bolted upright in his seat.  ‘Who?’ he asked, knowing the answer to his question already.

‘I have received information that Fenrik “The Spider” Lasko has learnt of the existence of the Emerald Key.  If he were to find it Drake-‘

The hairs on the back of Drake’s neck stood on end, the heat of his hatred ripped through his body like a lightning strike; he could feel the red of his face, the white of his knuckles as he clenched his fists tight.

‘I see that you have had dealings with Fenrik?’ asked Funestus, tilting his head slightly.

‘Yes,’ said Drake.  As you obviously know.

‘Well, it would be in both of our interests to stop him then, wouldn’t it?  You know what he will do with that kind of weapon, Drake.’

Drake slumped back into his chair and rubbed his forehead.  Fenrik was always there, skulking in the shadows, working towards the day when Devilsgate would finally succumb to his awesome power.  But Drake was working too, towards the day when he would destroy Fenrik by whatever means necessary.

But was this the way?

‘You have until noon tomorrow to give me your answer.  My Butler will see you out.  Until tomorrow, good day,’ and, without another word, Funestus turned and swept out of the room.

So you wanna be a writer? Five Reasons Why The Three Act Structure is For You

Okay, today’s post is going to focus on The Three Act Structure and why it’s great for everyone, especially newbies.

Reason One – It’s Simple!

The Three Act Structure is probably the simplest way of plotting a story. There are other ways to plot stories but sometimes the different methods can get a little complicated.

Every story has a beginning, middle and end and it doesn’t take a scientist to work out that each of the three acts corresponds to one of these parts in the story.

Act One is the beginning of the story, the place where we meet our hero; an introduction. The technical term for this is stasis. Stasis means a period of inactivity or equilibrium. Our hero is inactive, going about his business as he usually would until he is called into action when a triggering event happens. Basically, act one is setting the story up for the action that follows in acts two and three.

woman standing on road
Photo by Pedro Sandrini on

Act Two is the middle of the story, the quest, the action of the story. Our hero crosses the threshold and sets off on his quest. Sometimes, this is called the confrontation part of the story.

Act Three is the resolution, that is, all the consequences that follow the action of act two. The hero is now in a new world and must learn how to live in it.

So, in basic terms:

Act One is the beginning: The hero deciding to act on a goal.

Act Two is the middle: The hero takes action.

Act Three is the end: The hero must face up to the consequences of that action.

Or, even more simply put;

Act One: The hero decides to act.

Act Two: The action itself.

Act Three: The consequences of that action.

Reason Two: It’s a great guide especially for newbies!

The three-act structure can be broken down further, like this:

Act One:

Stage One – The set up

Stage Two – New Situation

Act Two:

Stage Three – Progress

Stage Four – Complications and Higher Stakes

Act Three:

Stage Five – Final Push

Stage Six – The Aftermath

You don’t need to break your story down into these extra sections if you don’t want to, but if you’re struggling to find ideas for what to write next you could use this as a guide.

For example, in act two we need the hero to make some progress but he can’t get everything his own way. There have to be obstacles in his path which gradually become harder to overcome. There are highs and lows but by the end of act two things should be more intense. Even though our hero has made good progress there will be complications and higher stakes so, by the end of act two, the hero should be at his lowest point.

The three-act structure can keep your story on track.

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair
Photo by Nathan Cowley on

Reason Three: It’s Flexible!

Because it’s so simple, it’s very flexible. It can be used as a guide for many different mediums. Want to write a screenplay? You can use the three-act structure. Want to write a novel but don’t know where to start? Use the three-act structure.

black ball point pen with brown spiral notebook
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on

Reason Four: It’s a great place to start!

Because it’s so simple and flexible, it’s a great place to start learning how to structure a story. There are other ways of structuring but one can often become lost when researching these because they have so many different parts to understand. These days the three-act structure is often seen as a stifling way to write a story, that it’s old fashioned and boring.

I disagree. Once you get to grips with the three-act structure it makes it easier to understand the other forms of plotting. The three-act structure is a good starting point, a great springboard into discovering new ways of structuring. It’s one more tool in the writer’s toolkit.

Reason Five: It helps manage the unmanageable!

You’re new to this writing malarkey, right? You want to write a novel and you have all these ideas swimming around but you don’t know where to start plotting, so you don’t. It’s too much. It’s too overwhelming.

Well, the three-act structure is perfect for you. As I said above, the three-act structure is so easy and flexible it will allow you to tame the beast, so to speak. As a newbie, you can become very overwhelmed with the idea of plotting. Like, where tf do I actually begin? Where does this section go? Okay, so my hero’s been called to action, what next?

The three-act structure allows you to give your thoughts some cohesion, some structure, As I said, it allows you to manage the unmanageable.

It won’t be easy. Writing a novel can be scary and overwhelming. Do it anyway. Use the three-act structure to begin your own adventure.

Good luck!