There are two categories of writers: pantsters and plotters. Though I must admit to being a plotter it’s fair to say that sometimes a person can be both. You can have an idea of where your story is going and what’s going to happen and still follow your muse. If you are a die-hard pantster and you never ever plot, then this post is not for you.
However, if you occasionally plot or if you’re like me and you create a detailed outline of what’s going to happen, when, and why then continue reading because there are some useful models and approaches to plotting. Today we’re taking a look at one of them. It’s called the “Story” model and it may help you create a strong plot for your next romance novel.
Part 1 (or Act 1 if you are familiar with screenplay format)
This is where you introduce your character and create the foundation for their motivation, conflict, and set up the rest of the book. The first act is where you’ll create the “Inciting incident” or the event that happened that will take your character on their journey.
Part 2 (Act 2) Section 1
This has two sections to it. In the first section you create your hero/heroine’s strategy for solving their problem. Of course, it doesn’t work out. So now what? What do they decide to do next?
Part 2 Section 2
Your character tries something else and hits another obstacle or partially succeeds and learns that they’re not anywhere near their goal. This section ends with the dark moment. It’s when the reader is just sure they’re never going to get together.
Part 3 (ACT 3)
Your hero/heroine figures it all out. Tada! However, there’s an unexpected obstacle. For example, she realizes that he’s the right man for her after all, only she finds out that he’s leaving the country and she has to stop him before it’s too late. Your story wraps up with a happily ever after here or if you’re writing a series then it needs to tidy up the story enough that readers feel satisfying but leave them wanting more.
Is this oversimplified?
Yes. It is.
You may have multiple points of view and subplots. You may have a handful of challenges that your hero or heroine need to overcome to get together. However, if your three part plot is solid, you’re starting out on the right track.