I always have the beginning and the ending in my mind whenever I start writing a short story/a novel/a picture book/a feature for the newspaper. It’s the middle part that I get stuck in. I’ve learnt to circumvent that by introducing new complications, new characters or twisting the plot in another direction to keep the wobbly middle from drooping.
I always work on a basic outline for my books.
Inciting Incident. I start with the Inciting Event/Incident that is responsible for throwing the protagonist headlong into the path of trouble/conflict or problem.
Plan. It’s what my Main Character decides to do to thwart the obstacle, to bypass the roadblocks and overcome the Antagonist.
Game. Here I work on the protagonist and the antagonist’s strengths and weaknesses. Who has the odds stacked against them? Who is the Dark Horse?
Changing Obstacles. The obstacles in my story keep changing growing in size and changing their direction and shape. This change of direction can get the protagonist into more trouble and make the antagonist more powerful. I also introduce sub-plots here.
Plot Twist. I like to have a few plot twists in place where I bring in new characters or put the protagonist in unexpected situations.
Dark Moment. I don’t know why I’m a big fan of this plot point. I always have this dark moment where my main character is left completely alone. He or she has to now trek the route to victory only on the sheer strength of his or her own efforts. External help may or may not come. But the fight that was started has to be waged and the battle fought.
Epiphany. I love this particular plot point. It’s the moment of illumination when things fall in place and the path ahead is clear as though someone has shown the protagonist a roadmap complete with detailed directions.
New Plan. With the moment of Epiphany I make the protagonist charter a new course of action, make fresh plans. I charge the scenes with tension.
Cliffhanger. The Cliffhanger brings my protagonist and antagonist together, not exactly face to face but both of them have their own plans to tackle each other.
Climax. Where the final battle is fought. The protagonist is all set to do or die, while the antagonist is all ready to kill or be killed.
Ending. Where perfect resolutions find their true place and all the loose ends are tied together.
My stories are based on this outline but I also tend to deviate between these plot points.
How do you all write your stories? I would love to know your plotting method!