Organizing a Plot or Storyline

So, you have an idea for a story. What do you do now? Perhaps your idea is very simple. How do you organize yourself so that you can fill in the gaps? Try out some of these tips.

1) The Three Act Structure

One of the most common ways to organize
a story is the three act structure. It's been used countless times because it works. Separate your story into three distinct sections as follows.

Act 1: Set Up and Inciting Event. Conflict is introduced here.
Act 2: Conflict—where the character tries to overcome their problem. Also, a rug-pulling moment where all suddenly seems lost.
Act 3: Climax and Resolution.

2) Work Out a Plot Skeleton

Run off a quick skeleton plot for your story. It doesn't matter how rough or vague it is as long as it creates a general story arc for you to turn back to if you get stuck. It'll help you work out where you want your climatic scenes and how you want to build up to them.

You don't have to stick to it. If you think of a better idea while you're writing, then don't be afraid to change your original plan; it's only an outline.

3) Work Backwards

You might find it easier to brainstorm some ideas for where you want the story to end, so work backards in some respect, whilst you are going forward (though not too much as this may get confusing). However, if you know where you want to get to, it is often easier to fill in other ideas that can lead to the end. If the story is a mystery, for example, it is essential to know who did what and when; brainstoming/noting down the ending first is useful when it comes to slipping in little clues along the way.

4) Start With The Most Important Plot Elements

You might be really eager to jot down a scene, but it doesn't take place for several chapters. Or you might be stuck trying to work out how to get your characters from A to B. Sometimes it does help to write that important scene, the B first and then to work out the details afterwards. You can always change that important scene around to make it fit with what you will later set before it.