5 Great Plot Hacks For Finding A Story Quickly

5 Great Plot Hacks For Finding A Story Quickly

Writers Write is a writing resource. In this post, we share five plot hacks for finding a story quickly.

Maybe you’re stuck for a new idea for your next story, or struggling to come up with a hook to hang your plot on. Maybe you’re thinking of taking part in NaNoWriMo and need a workable plot in a hurry.

Here are five easy ways to find a plot:

  1. Give a classic a cool twist. The classics can give you a great ‘template’ for a modern novel.  You could make Macbeth a CEO of a major company who’s manipulated into leading a hostile takeover. Perhaps Madame Bovary becomes a comic house husband who can’t stop spending his rich wife’s money.
  2. Kill someone in chapter one. Nothing sparks a plot like a character dying in the opening scenes. It could be a private investigator looking into his partner’s death — he’s determined to find the killer. In a drama, an estranged mother’s suicide can set a daughter on a quest to find the truth of her mother’s life. Mysteries allow you to connect dots — and that’s basically what plot is all about.
  3. Start with setting. Setting can spark plot and inform character. You could start with an exclusive tropical beach resort and then start ‘populating’ it with characters — an unhappy couple of honeymoon, a tanned Romeo who runs a charter company, or a beautiful hotel maid with a dark secret. Once you have your cast, have something go wrong. A terrible cyclone, a hostage situation, or someone dies —see point 2.
  4. Mine your own life. Most novels are autobiographical to some degree – so why not use your own experiences in your story. That love affair you had in college could be the next Love Story.  Or the time you went on a caravanning holiday with your best friend and her family could be a funny family road trip story.  All you have to do is change the names, ramp up the conflict, and you could have a story you feel confident in writing and emotionally connected to.
  5. Make anti-plot work for you. Forget the formulas and neat structures of writing — and break the rules. Taking risks raises adrenaline and that can help you write quicker. So … instead of someone dying in chapter one, have someone almost die or come back from the dead.  Instead of a classic story line, rewrite your favourite cheesy movie’s plot from a minor character’s view point — like the dog. Instead of chapters, write the story in Tweets or Facebook posts.

Get started today!

The idea is not to agonise over plot — but to have something ‘usable’ as you set out to write your first draft.  Things will change as you rewrite and edit, which is a good thing, but don’t let fear of plot stop you from starting.

If you want to learn how to write a book, sign up for our online course.

 by Anthony Ehlers

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. Perfect Moments – How Do You See The World Around You?
  2. 5 Bestselling Storytelling Lessons From Jackie Collins
  3. ‘You Had Me At Hello’ — 5 Ways to Capture Your Audience’s Attention
Posted on: 15th October 2015
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