Plot development comprises ideas or suggestions that end up stagnation when applied at a point where the story has got stuck.
Suppose you have a story idea in the seed stage. Have an outline as well. But due to some reason you are unable to elaborate further on your desired theme.
At this point, this article helps you choose a directly applicable or closely adaptable suggestion. And this could make the plot gather pace thereafter.
You need such suggestions at the take-off point, after a few steps, or anywhere deep into the tale. And here you get a collection of 41 story development ideas that can provide a push at different stages of build-up of the story.
Use these suggestions as
- sub-tales with the theme,
- story stimulators, or
- replacement for static parts of the story.
Let’s see if your story requires any of the given suggestions.
Stuck at the Start? Work on the Seed Idea.
If you are unable to take off from your basic story idea, here are some plot development suggestions to help the story step forward:
- Break up your seed idea into 3-4 settings. For example, write for the different periods (say 70s, the year 2000, and around 2012) in the story individually.
- If you have 2 or more seed ideas, mix them up and see what comes out.
- Look at your original idea with a different perspective, say the law angle, the perspective of a widow, or whatever you like.
- If the central fact is little bit complicated, try to simplify it by moving closer to the basics.
- Magnify a small looking idea by increasing the size and extent of events. You may also minimize the basic idea and observe the result.
- Find a real-life event close to the seed idea. Juxtapose the real events in analogy to the theoretical idea. Is a full-fledged story likely to develop?
- Try this start: She woke up to find five people sitting across from her. One of them, a middle-aged lady, said, “You met with an accident. But all your organs are working fine. We have some doubts about your brain’s functioning only. Can you identify us or any of us?
Plot Stopped After Few Steps – Stir the Settings
A few steps into the tale, you realize your story has frozen. Unable to slide it, you doubt whether you took right steps at the beginning. Wait. Perhaps one of the following story prompts lies close to your theme:
- Suppose your story was progressing in 1932 but has come to a standstill. Tell something about the present or even 2042.
- The story was supposed to go from city A to city B in three hours. Let it get diverted to city C due to a sudden series of events.
- If your seed idea germinated in a posh urban location, let it move to countryside in the middle of the story. May be for a while only.
- A likely political change caused by the announcement of an unexpected state poll result can cause a twist in the story.
- An inferno sweeping through a locality could make your story leap.
- An important geographical spot in the story submerges due to a great flood.
- At the point of pause, a boat full of tourists sinks. The story may branch out in a new direction from here.
Does the Rising Action Lack Ignition?
‘Rising action’ is where the story attains impact. If it is not scripted well, the story goes pale and might be discarded halfway. The following suggestions will help break the writing slump at the point of ‘rising action‘:
- She is baffled with problems and wants to move to an isolated, far-off location. She knows – all her well-wishers will be worried. But enough is enough. She would take the plunge.
- The view of the deserted school dreaded Nishant. The town was in a grip of fear. Police vehicles ran everywhere. At last, he decided to go search for Manny.
- Stealing a glance, she found him watching her from a corner. His outfit, the gaze and most of all, his walk she had observed minutes earlier, were exactly similar. Was this Stez ?
- The news is Ocean Rose, the ship, may sail ashore anytime. Julie finds thousands of people queueing up on the shore. Will her daughter be there? Is she alive?
- The man was wearing yellow clothes. There was an aura about him, and his countenance glowed with wisdom. I made up my mind to meet the man at a solitary place.
- She was backstage, rehearsing. In a while she would perform before the audience. Mr. Oli’s advice echoed in her ears – “You’re not acting but portraying the reality of your life.” Meanwhile she heard the director’s voice, “Go.”
- As soon as they would enter the compound, he would open the kennel door and set all the dogs free so they could pounce upon them at a time.
Unlock the Pause Before the Climax
The climax is where you walk the reader through peak action, relate the events, and unfold the suspense. This makes the climax a difficult point.
Go through this list. Use it to stir your mind, weave a climax.
- She tried to convince herself but could not. Only the two of them knew the tune. She would meet the singer after the show, for sure.
- He had missed the email. It read, “Hope you’ve recovered from the memories of past. First few months, even I didn’t know what to do but slowly I forgot it all. Have moved on after the marriage.” He didn’t read further.
- Everybody will be present on the birthday. I will disclose the matter and see how the three of them react. That would reveal everything we are looking for. Thinking so, I started calling and inviting kith and kin.
- She looked carefully at the child’s crutches. His smile captivated her. The kid moved forward calling ‘Sis…’ Crutches got entangled and he fell. Throwing the books in her hands, she ran to hold him. This was her very own brother long separated by circumstances.
- She had said, ” I’d never visit the morgue again.” But that was not to be. One last time she would have to visit the morgue. Taking the holy stone in her palm, she started descending the steps to the basement.
- He knew his negative vote would put him against the C-suite. Higher-ups wanted the new software deal to pass successfully. But he won’t vote in favor of the deal. He remembered his father’s words, “Don’t do anything that is not acceptable to your soul.”
Play With Characters – A Natural Way to Make a Waiting Plot Progress
“You take people, you put them on a journey, you give them peril, you find out who they really are.” – Jos Wheedon
Here are some plot progress ideas based on characters:
- Some of the characters meet at a nightclub where there is a bitter quarrel.
- An important character, say the father or the fiancé falls prey to a terminal disease.
- A mother invites old friends in the birthday party of her son. A strange observation takes her by surprise.
- The hero falls in love with a married woman when she defeats him at his favorite sport.
- The protagonist gets to understand problems and compulsions of the antagonist and considers a new possibility.
- A school teacher promises his friend to rescue his son from the clasps of drug cartel.
- The lead female character is stunned to learn about her father’s illicit nexus.
- A devilish smile played on her face when she saw the train approaching. Reaching the club before 10.45 is crucial to cut the deal. She then called him. “We are about to get it Andy. Be ready.”
Plot Development Examples for Falling Action
Ending a story is an art too. ‘Falling action’, as it is known, gives the reader a view after the climax. May be the later part of life of a character, the way a place or locality changes, or a detail that brings the plot near to reality.
Recent trends even show an unresolved clue being left in the end that could become the base for a sequel.
Some examples of falling action are as below:
- They got married and ruled the kingdom peacefully for many years.
- The smoke covered the jungle. Every trace of the virus would be rooted out. Nonetheless, some of the viruses lay under the foliage of Croton trees and they would escape the onslaught of the cleansing chemical. The world thinks the virus phase was over. But something lay hidden. Left.
- When I reached my native village after facing all the difficulties, I was surprised. Whereas I expected people to spit at me, they were waiting with garlands in their hands. How did it happen? Suddenly I saw a man in the crowd waving his hands. And then I understood everything.
- Friends had left after a week’s stay. The house wore a deserted look. He looked out from the glass window. It was a bone-chilling morning but he was relaxed. He didn’t need to go anywhere or do anything urgently. Singing his favorite song, he went back to sleep.
- Mrs. Silhotra is one of the nobles of the city. Whenever she visits the bank, the manager stands up and welcomes her.
- I do find time to go meet that unsung hero. Diwakar is also very happy to display his strange inventions before me.
So, Can You Re-grow a Dead Plot?
If you find your plots stopping midway, get cautious. Work might accumulate without letting you know.
So, re-evaluate yourself: Do I have the ability to unblock the pause in a story?
Well and good if you have. If you don’t, learn and hone the plot development skill ASAP. Because I tell you, stories tend to pause and you soon face lack of inspiration. Even temporary looking pauses might elongate.
That’s what makes a case for plot development ideas. Bring in a new character, change the setting or make a move down the memory lane but get a stopped story breathing.
This is an art. An art that a story writer must learn or know or culture.
Try It Out Now
If your WIP has halted midway, apply one of the suggested plot development ideas.
Place one of the suggestions directly in your tale and expand. Else, place your characters and incidents in the suggestion and see what emerges.
If you are stuck at the beginning of the plot, the suggestions given for the seed idea will help you.
Ask your writer friends if they are facing an impasse in their writing work. Then suggest some ideas to deal with the creative slowdown.
There is no time for inaction now. Brace up yourself with hundreds more story twists. You can then react instantaneously to any kind of literary halt.
I humbly request you to 🌸 share this post on social media 🌸 so those whose tales have gone moribund can contact me for help. Communicate to me through the comments section.
More Reading on Story Development
The following links contain good material regarding breaking the pause in a story or giving a twist therein. Visit them to read more on plot development: