So, you’ve got a great plotline. What’s next?

Maybe you have a story and want to get it published. Or maybe you have heard everyone has a story in them and want to start writing yours. Either way, you've probably heard some of the following myths about authorship:

  • It's said J.R.R. Tolkien was not sure what was going to happen next as he wrote The Lord of the Rings.
  • E.L. James supposedly wrote Fifty Shades of Grey as a fan-fiction of her favourite fantasy novel, Twilight.
  • Legend has it Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road in a drug-filled three week fit of passion.
  • H.P. Lovecraft's short horror stories apparently came to him in nightmares.

These myths are a lot of fun and add to the mystique of the authors involved. However, they are also dangerous. They lead to the belief that all that is needed to publish a book or short story is some inspiration. One of the worst offenders is a famous poem by Charles Bukowski:

unless it comes unmasked out of your

heart and your mind and your mouth

and your gut

don't do it…

 

The trouble is that truly good stories are about far more than just a good plotline. Successful writing includes character development, a build up of dramatic suspense, and celver description and exposition. Most important, fiction needs to explore big issues. The Lord of the Rings shows us why ordinary people can do extraordinary things. On the Road explores rebellion against tedious day-to-day existence. The best stories come when an author provides a resonant theme, and then explores that theme through a tense and memorable plot. Ann Leckie explains this well in an interview at the back of the sci-fi novel Ancillary Justice:

Often new writers are advised to make sure every scene is doing at least two things, but I've found that when I write short, two is too few. Every scene has to be doing as much work as it possibly can, and each sentence has to have a justification. If I can cut it, and the story remains comprehensible, then it pretty much has to go. Even if it's doing two or three things.

 

There are cases were natural storytellers have accidently hit on the recipe for a good story without even thinking about anything except the plot. If the legends are true, there are some examples at the top of this article. However, these cases are rare. In most cases, authors who are obsessed with their plot to the exclusion of the stories they are actually telling will not be successful.

If you are interested in developing your plots into successful stories, we offer courses and modules in Creative Writing (and eBook) at the Academy for Distance Learning.  

LEAVE A REPLY

BLOG CATEGORIES

MOST POPULAR

July Newsletter 1 2022: Go Viral (on the internet) today

Understand how the mind works to promote your business and generate sales! This is a broad-based Psychological Mindset and Marketing online qualification designed to combine the disciplines of psychology, marketing and business skills in order to help us understand how the role of Mindsets Mindsets helps us recognise opportunities, deal with situations:- making us aware

Read More »

June Newsletter 4 2022: Is it smaller than a loaf of bread?

Nanotechnology 100 Hours Certificate Course Learn about Nanotechnology and understand how it can be applied in many industries Nanoscience is the study of structures and molecules on the very small scales of nanometres. The technology that utilises it in practical applications, such as devices, is called nanotechnology. This course will help you understand how nanotechnology

Read More »

Freedom to Learn

Unsurprisingly, one of the most critical skills that we can understand in life is how to learn. Or, more accurately, how we learn because we are all very different and at various points in our journey to understanding how we work best. This series is going to be an exploration of ideas that may prove

Read More »

May Newsletter 3 2022: Enter the writer’s room!

Writing Non-Fiction 100 Hours Certificate Course Learn How Professional Non-Fiction Writers Become Professional Non-Fiction Writers! Have you ever dreamed of becoming a Professional Non-Fiction Writer? This course will help you learn how to write blogs, news articles, video scripts and much more. You’ll also learn how to develop writing skills that will enable you to

Read More »

June Newsletter 2 2022: Farm-Bred and Organic Tourism!

Farm Tourism (also known as Agritourism!) 100 Hours Certificate Course HOW TO ESTABLISH A FARM TOURISM BUSINESS Looking to add extra revenue streams to your farming business? This course will explain the various opportunities and different ways that a farm tourism business can add to your farm income. You’ll learn how to build a tourism

Read More »

SIGNUP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Scroll to Top

REQUEST A CALLBACK

To speak to one of our course advisors, please enter your name and phone number below and click the "Please Call Me" button. We will call you back as soon as possible!

By submitting this form, I provide my consent to ADL to contact me via email or telephone, regarding the course I selected. All information provided is protected in conformity with our Privacy Policy.

CONTACT US

required fields are marked with *

By submitting this form, I provide my consent to ADL to contact me via email or telephone, regarding the course I selected. All information provided is protected in conformity with our Privacy Policy.