• Ryanne Harper

Tipsy Tips: To Plot or Not to Plot?


This past Saturday, I led a little - well, eighteen people

showed up, so it didn't feel so little - class on the three components of fiction writing:

1. Character development

2. Plot and structure

3. Dialogue

So, I decided, since I was already working on it, I'd devote this month's blogs to the big three as well.

Last week I covered character development, you can read that post here and grab a complimentary copy of our character development worksheet as well.

This week, though, we're all about plot and what the heck to do with that plot.


Simply put, plot is what happens to your characters. Your characters that you took the time to develop into real people with hangups, personalities, goals, whatever. Because you did that, right?


For your reader to want to move forward, some interesting things need to happen to your interesting characters.


Personally, I like to use the LOCK system developed by James Scott Bell. He goes over it in great detail in his book Plot & Structure, which I recommend for any aspiring writing.


What is LOCK?

L - LEAD. Your lead has to be compelling enough for the reader to want to follow them on this journey.

O - OBJECTIVE. What is your lead trying to accomplish? Most objectives can be boiled down to:

  1. Your lead is running toward something

  2. Your lead is running away from something

C - CONFRONTATION. Bad in real life, great in a novel. You have to have it.

K - KNOCKOUT ending. Don't crap out on the ending. Keep in mind, your ending will have readers looking for your next book. So, take the time to get it right.


I have included the Plots portion of my notes from my class.

I'll be leading Part Two: All About Editing on February 15th. You may register here.

Okay, bye.