How To Write A Compelling Story Plot - Today Writers

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How to write a compelling story plot

Writing a compelling story plot is a lot like writing a great essay.

You need to make sure that your plot doesn’t fall flat, that the reader can follow what you’re saying and understand what they’re reading, and that it has all the elements of good writing—tight prose, vivid imagery, description, etc.

But there are also some tricks you can use to ensure your story doesn’t just sit on the page: It will keep readers turning pages!

Refrain from falling into the trap of telling, not showing.

This is one of the most common mistakes people make when writing fiction.

They tell you what happened and what everyone was thinking, but they don’t show you.

In other words, they don’t let you experience the story with all five senses.

You should be able to see things happening in front of your eyes as if they were on a movie screen—and hear them too!

Leave room for the reader’s imagination.

One of the most important parts of writing a compelling story plot is leaving room for your readers’ imaginations.

It’s not enough to tell them what happens—you have to give them more than just facts and statistics, which can be difficult.

The best way I’ve found to do this is by making sure that there are as few gaps in your story as possible; if you give too much information at once, then it becomes predictable and boring because everyone knows what’s going on (or how things will end up).

But if you leave some things out, readers can only imagine what might happen next or who might win against whom in battle!

A good rule of thumb when crafting an engaging tale: remember that people like stories where they get involved with characters who are interesting enough that they want more information about them after finishing reading their chapter(s).

Follow a hero and his journey.

The hero’s journey is a common story structure in many genres, including science fiction and fantasy. It typically includes five stages:

  • Departure (the quest)
  • Initiation (the call to adventure)
  • Refusal of the call to adventure and loss of innocence
  • Crossing the threshold into maturity and facing mortality (or death)
  • Reunion with your mentor or another figure who has helped you on your way

Use conflict to create tension.

Conflict is the driving force behind any story. It makes you want to keep reading and finish it, whether you’re reading a short story or an entire novel.

Conflict must keep readers interested in your account, but how do you know when it’s insufficient?

Internal conflict: The characters within your novel are at odds with each other over some issue (usually something important). The character who wants one thing may fight against another who wants something different because of this difference in opinion.

Writing a compelling story plot

Balance suspense with action.

Suspense is the anticipation of an outcome, while the action is the physical part of a story.

You can create suspense by withholding information about your main character’s goals and objectives or delaying their fulfillment until later in the plot.

Action can be made by moving forward with your characters’ goals and objectives—or it can catalyze suspenseful moments when something unexpected happens that leads to more effort (and more surprises).

Every character must have a purpose that supports the story and develops the protagonist.

Every character must have a purpose that supports the story and develops the protagonist. This is true for all characters, not just your main character.

As you write, be sure to keep track of what each character’s purpose is so that it makes sense in context.

Make sure that each action taken by one or more of your characters makes sense within their personalities and relationships with other people in their world (even if it’s only one scene).

If someone does something out-of-character, there should be some reason why they’ve done so—and this reason should be visible from page 1!

Don’t just have multiple characters with similar goals because they’re all trying to accomplish something at once; this will make them feel like interchangeable parts rather than individuals whose actions are important to their own stories.

Don’t let yourself get caught up in plot twists meant only for shock value or drama: these are often unnecessary distractions from creating real emotion between readers and characters alike.

More dialogue can be clunky.

In the same vein, dialogue can be clunky. It’s important to keep your dialogue short, snappy, and meaningful—if you want your readers to get into the story, make sure that every word counts!

For example:

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.”

This is good because it reveals character:

Will he apologize?

Will she accept his apology?

What will happen next in their relationship?

But it could be better because the second sentence seems like an afterthought (or maybe even worse).

Don’t rely on flashbacks. They should enhance, not overpower, your story.

Flashbacks are a great tool for enhancing your story and should be used sparingly.

They can help us understand a character’s motivations and show us something that happened in the past.

But if you’re using flashbacks to tell the reader how something happened, it might be too much information at once—and that’s not helpful!

You’ll want to ensure every scene has enough details, so readers don’t feel confused or bored while reading through them.

If you’re writing about someone who has been through traumatic experiences, consider writing about their past before starting on the present timeline of events (which we’ll discuss next).

This way, readers will already know what this person was going through before getting into his current story arc; otherwise, two separate timelines are happening simultaneously instead of one continuous storyline being told from beginning to end.

Follow these tips to create a great plot for your story, then turn it into a compelling narrative.

The plot is the structure of your story. It dictates what happens, when, and where.

A good plot should be summarized in one sentence: “The main character wants something and tries to achieve it by doing whatever it takes.”

The narrative is how you tell that story. It’s not just a series of events—it’s also how they’re told (i.e., through dialogue or action).

The narrative can help readers follow along with what’s happening onscreen, but if it doesn’t have any substance behind it, readers won’t care about anything else!


You’ve just completed the first step toward writing a compelling plot for your story.

Now, we hope you feel more confident about how to turn your idea into a well-developed story that readers will want to read.

Remember: It takes time and practice to develop great writing skills as an author, so don’t be discouraged if this process seems like too much work at first.

With patience, persistence, and practice—even when it’s frustrating—you’ll get better with time!

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