How Do You Write Plot?

Dear Mrs. Naylor, I really enjoy reading your books, they’re so detailed and Alice feels so real, I’m a teen author, a young adult that’s an author not an author who writes for young adults. (Or atleast i like to think of myself as an author. (: )
& I love to write, my style is mostly, realisitic but humorous and sometimes I get ideas to just make a very imaginative fairy tale sort of story. So really I like all genres.
But I can never really stick to writing these stories because I don’t know how to make a plot, I sort of just go on and on with conversations that my characters will have but I don’t know how to make the base for the story , so I stop writing that story and start another. I basically like to free write, if that is what it’s called. 🙂
I get into that mode where you feel like your stories are pouring into the pencil & onto the paper, or keyboard or typewriter. 🙂 And you don’t even have to stop and think your hands just write for you and the story just keeps making itself in your brain. That’s the best.
I love to make the characters information, like where they live,what they look like, how many siblings they have,and humurous conversations. Those kind of things, but im not very familiar with making a base for the story.
Or the ups and downs of how the story line is supposed to go, I found these plot charts on the internet, and they show at the begining of stories everything’s fine and then something happens and then problem solved and then a smaller problem occurs and then happy ending…not sure if that’s excactly how it goes though.
I want to make a plot that makes sence and catches the readers attention. If you are understanding any of this then kudos. 🙂
Do you have any tips for making the base of the story? How do you, get the inspiration for your plots?
I’ve looked up some things about plots but I don’t quite understand how to make an interesting plot that has to have a meaning or something important that usually leads up to the character learning a lesson. Do you always need to make them learn a lesson? And I get a sort of writers block where I don’t write stories for a long time, does that happen to you?
And do you have to pay for a pen name?
Mrs. Naylor, if you have any writers tips for a W.I.P. (writer in progress) it would be so awesome to get them from you…you’re a really great author and I love Alice.
Phyllis replied:
I could not possibly tell you how to plot in a short space, as I’ve written a whole book on how to write a novel (or a story). And I don’t plan to use this website to advertise it, but the book, “The Craft of Writing the Novel,” is no longer in print, so I sell it from my home. Your problem is a common one–you enjoy descriptive writing, building the characters, the community–but they don’t “go anywhere.”  I spend far more time thinking about a story than I do writing it.  And though all writers do things differently, I begin with a situation: “What if….?”  In my bookShiloh, for example…after I had actually come across a real dog, obviously mistreated…I asked myself the question, “What if I knew who legally owned this dog and was abusing it?  What if I  tried to buy it from him but he wouldn’t sell it?”  And then, to eliminate obvious answers, such as going to the authorities, “What if I were only eleven years old, in a rural community?” etc. etc.  Using other books of mine as examples, “What if my father was mentally ill and my mom insisted on keeping it secret?” or  “What if I were a girl living in a depressed area in Tennessee and was chosen as the one to go on a two-week exchange, moving in with a wealthy girl in Lexington?”  The Alice books were a little different, in that every book was a “slice of her life,” and you almost have to put all 28 books together to see the arc of the plot.  Try starting with something from  your own life–think of the thing that made you the most angry or the most embarrassed or sad or scared.  Write a paragraph about it and then turn it over to your imagination.  Make it happen to someone else.  Put a different beginning on it…a different end.  Expand it.  Have your main character face a definite problem, and when she goes about solving it, throw some more obstacles in her way.  Before you begin a story, you should know the beginning, the climax, the end, and a few major stepping stones along the way.  THEN you begin your story, and the delight comes in filling the rest out–the descriptions, the conversations, all the things you love to do.

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