So, you’ve finished your first draft. Congrats! You’ve taken
a huge step, but there’s still a lot of work to do. It can be easy to point out
grammatical or spelling errors, but understanding what’s fundamentally wrong
with your story can take some time. If you liked what you’ve written, but you
feel like something’s missing, here are a few ways to figure out if you need to
strengthen your story’s plot:
Revisit character motivations
If you want to work on strengthening the plot of your novel,
think hard about your protagonist’s motivations. What they want and how they
plan on getting it will often shape the plot and give you some direction. Make
sure the stakes are high enough to really drive your main character into
What are the
There must be something standing in your protagonist’s way.
Otherwise, your story won’t have much variation. Why does the antagonist want
to stop the protagonist? What obstacles prevent your protagonist from getting
what they want? Figure these things out and implement them in your next draft.
Take a look at
Your story needs tension or else it will fall flat. Your
novel will feel directionless and there will be very little motivation from a reader
to continue on. If your story feels dull and there doesn’t seem to be much to
the plot, try focusing on tension. Throw something in to slow down your
protagonist. Convince the reader that your main character might fail.
Define the story arc
In order to really understand plot on a deeper level, you
need to learn about story arcs. There needs to be rising and falling action,
ups and downs, etc. A story should not be a straight line from beginning to
end. If you have trouble grasping the concept of a story arc, try reading more
about them or studying your favorite stories/movies.