Write A Road Trip To Help You Plot A Book

Write A Road Trip To Help You Plot A Book

Are you struggling to write a book? Do you have an idea that seems to go nowhere? In this post, we suggest you write a road trip to help you plot a book.

Are you struggling to write a book? Do you need help?

I have a great suggestion for you. Write about a road trip.

Write A Road Trip To Help You Plot A Book

Writing a book is a lot like going on a journey.

Like a road trip, a novel has a destination. It also has a cast of characters, a timeline, obstacles, and potential for conflict.

Travel changes us. Often, a road trip teaches us something about ourselves. In a good novel, your character learns something or changes along the way.

You can use this formula to help you plot a book.

Why A Road Trip?

When you travel, you are forced to think about a destination. You need to plan, which is good for plotting. You usually have other people in the car with you. You may like these people or you may hate them, but their proximity allows lots of opportunity for the conflict you need in a plot.

How To Write A Road Trip

  1. Choose a character (protagonist).
  2. Choose a destination.
  3. Give the character a reason for getting there. (inciting moment)
  4. Tell us why they are motivated to get there. (story goal)
  5. Put the antagonist in the car with your hero. Or get them to follow your protagonist. (Their story goal should be to prevent the protagonist from reaching the destination.)
  6. Allow the conflict to develop from this arrangement.
  7. Choose a friend and/or a love interest to accompany your main character.
  8. Write down three BIG things (3 Surprises) that will potentially prevent this character from getting to the destination. Examples: Accident, Car breaks down, Falling asleep at the wheel, Getting lost, Motel is full. (The antagonist should be the cause of the big surprises.)
  9. Add smaller hindrances. Examples: Run out of fuel, Argument with love interest, Sidetracked along the way, Thinking about the past, Credit card is declined.
  10. Create a world in the car (setting). Other settings along the way will be secondary.
  11. Draw a map of the journey.
  12. Create a timeline.
  13. Break the journey up into scenes and sequels.
  14. Reach the destination. Or not. (ending)
  15. Write the story.

Why not try it? You may be surprised at how much you learn about plotting.


You can use this formula for any genre. If you are writing fantasy, change the car into a carriage or a dragon or people travelling on foot. If you are writing a science fiction novel, change the car into a space ship. If you are writing crime, let the detective chase the criminal or put them in the same car.

In Summary

When you write a road trip to help you plot a book, you confine your opposition characters in a space and give them a destination. Ironically, going on a journey prevents you from straying off the plotting track.

Try to stick to the formula if you’re struggling with plotting in general.

Once you understand the basics of how a plot works, you can tweak it and change it. You can even create your own plotting formula.

LOOK: If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg or sign up for our online course.

© Amanda Patterson

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