Plot and Plotting Resources

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Plot is the underlying series of connected casual events in your story or novel. A unique plot is part of a great story but many top authors argue that it is the characters that drive the plot. Stephen King even suggests thinking of situations instead of plot. A plot also needs to be entertaining and/or exciting. There must be drama. There should be an interesting problem that needs to be resolved. A man who makes himself a sandwich because he is hungry is a plot but it is a very dull plot. A more exciting plot is if the man is murdered while making the sandwich leading the police on the hunt for a serial killer. Alternatively, the man's wife discovers his body, realizes who did it and seeks out revenge.

There are common plots -- rags to riches, revenge, love stories, etc. -- that continue to be used successfully over and over again. This is because new characters, settings and situations help make the basic plots fresh again.

Here are some great plot articles, tips and resources.

You can find more resources for creating fiction in our fiction writing links section.

Denouement Explanation and Examples
Find out what a denouement is with examples from literature.

John Grisham Talks Plot and Outlines
John Grisham says you have to outline. He says he spends a lot of time outlining before he writes the first word.

Kurt Vonnegut: The Shapes of Stories
Kurt Vonnegut explains his shape-based concept for what makes up stories.

Laurell K. Hamilton Puts Characterization Above Plot
Novelist Laurell K. Hamilton says the plot can be reworked but character growth is difficult to fix once broken.

Plot Generators
A collection of plot generators to help you come up with story ideas.

Plotting a Story Webinar
The Writer's Academy from Penguin Random House describes plot and explains how to fix common plot problems in this online masterclass by Dr. Barbara Henderson.

Plotting is a Seven Letter Word
Alex Keegan explains why you should avoid plotting your novels.

Pyramid Explanation of Dramatic Structure by Gustav Freytag
Freytag saw a plot pyramid containing exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and denouement.

Ronald B. Tobias' 20 Master Pltos (PDF)
Description of the 20 Master Plots described by Ronald B. Tobias, including rescue, love, the riddle, rivalry, sacrifice and more.

Stephen King Says Forget Plot, Think Situation
Stephen King says a strong situation renders the whole question of plot moot. He suggests a what-if question to get you to the right place.

The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations
A list of the 36 dramatic situations described by Georges Polti in his 19th century book.

Three, Six or 36: How Many Basic Plots are There?
The Guardian investigates to determine how many different plot types there are.