Writing a Good Story is Never Easy: Explore Effective Plot Strategies for Your Novel

Posted on November 29, 2018

by April S

Writing a good story is not a simple task

Whoever said writing was easy? Not me, that’s for sure. The work writers do is often overlooked in terms of importance, skill set and the time/effort it takes to create something interesting for others to read. On the other hand, bestselling novelists have the potential to make millions on a single novel. If you’re an aspiring writer it may be hard to know where to begin in your pursuit of writing that next bestselling book. There are so many things to consider. The entire process can be overwhelming! The details can weigh down both the writer and reader. So, where do you start?

Writing Elements Worth Exploring

Story Setting

The setting includes elements like place and time, which may restrict or expand the options for the characters in a story. The setting can also help determine the mood or tone for your novel.

Learn more

What is Story Setting?

The Top 10 Elements of Setting in a Story


The plot is the what in a story. It’s a sequence of events that make up a story. The plot determines “how the story develops, unfolds and moves in time.”

Learn more

What is a Plot?

5 Main Elements of Plot


A character is a person, animal or being in a story. The main characters in a story drive the plot. Depending on the direction a writer takes with their development – readers may empathize or despise them. Characters help move the story along with dialogue or narrative.

Learn more

What is Character?

15 Top Character Creation Tips

I’m not a professional novelist, but librarians are well versed in finding the answer to many, many questions and this includes those related to writing and publishing. Below, you’ll find a great selection of Library and online resources to help you explore effective plot elements for your next novel writing adventure. We also have many more great blog posts that cover various aspects of writing that we hope you’ll check out. They’re listed under Writing and Publishing on our blog.

This post closes out National Novel Writing Month or Nanowrimo, but don’t let that stop you from writing whenever and wherever inspiration finds you!

Learn How to Effectively Plot Your Next Novel

Mastering Suspense, Structure & Plot : How to Write Gripping Stories That Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats by Jane K. Cleland ; foreword by Hallie Ephron

Mastering Suspense, Structure & Plot : How to Write Gripping Stories That Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats by Jane K. Cleland

Suspense is one of the most powerful tools a writer has for captivating readers–but it isn’t just for thrillers. From mainstream fiction to memoir, suspense creates the emotional tension that keeps readers on the edge of their seats.

“Mastering Suspense, Structure, & Plot” is your hands-on guide to weaving suspense into your narrative. Award-winning author Jane K. Cleland teaches you how to navigate genre conventions, write for your audience, and build gripping tension to craft an irresistible page-turner.

Packed with case studies, exercises, and dozens of examples from best-selling authors – this book is the key to writing suspenseful, engaging stories that leave your readers wanting more.

Also available in eBook.

Writing Blockbuster Plots : A Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering Plot, Structure & Scene by Martha Alderson

Plotting a story filled with memorable, engaging scenes from beginning to end can feel like an insurmountable challenge. Having the right plan – and the tools to execute it – can make all the difference. “Writing Blockbuster Plots” pulls back the curtain on story structure with step-by-step strategies and visuals that turn plotting and scene writing into a no-stress endeavor.

Filled with examples from both classic and contemporary novels, as well as illustrations of the Plot Planner and Scene Tracker in action, “Writing Blockbuster Plots” strips the confusion out of the plotting process, enabling you to write a story that deserves a standing ovation.

Also available in eBook.

Plot Perfect : How to Build Unforgettable Stories Scene by Scene by Paula Munier

Think of your favorite story–the one that kept you turning pages late into the night, the one with a plot so compelling, so multilayered, so perfect that you couldn’t put it down. How can you make your own plots–in your novels, short stories, memoirs, or screenplays–just as irresistible?

“Plot Perfect” provides the answer. This one-of-a-kind plotting primer reveals the secrets of creating a story structure that works–no matter what your genre. It gives you the strategies you need to build a scene-by-scene blueprint that will help elevate your fiction and earn the attention of agents and editors.

Filled with writing exercises, plotting templates, and expert advice, “Plot Perfect” helps you dive into the intricacies of plot–and write a compelling story that readers won’t be able to resist.

Also available in eBook.

The Plot Whisperer : Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master by Martha Alderson

When it comes to writing bestsellers, it’s all about the plot. Trouble is, plot is where most writers fall down–but you don’t have to be one of them. With this book, you’ll learn how to create stories that build suspense, reveal character, and engage readers–one scene at a time.

Celebrated writing teacher and author Martha Alderson has devised a plotting system that’s as innovative as it is easy to implement. With her foolproof blueprint, you’ll learn to devise a successful storyline for any genre.

This is the ultimate guide for you to write page-turners that sell!

The Plot Whisperer : Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master by Martha Alderson
Plot It, Or Pants It? How to Decide If Pantsing Is the Right Approach for Your Novel by Ray Rhamey

Plot It, Or Pants It? How to Decide If Pantsing Is the Right Approach for Your Novel by Ray Rhamey

Should you “pants” your next novel? In the exclusive e-book “Plot It, or Pants It?” Ray Rhamey advises on the pros and cons of tossing the outline and writing by the seat of your pants.

You’ll get perspectives from several best-selling authors–from Elmore Leonard to Stephen King–on their approach to organic writing and learn how to successfully pants a first draft while avoiding pitfalls. Ray Rhamey is an author, freelance fiction editor, and designer of book covers, interiors, and e-books for indie authors and small publishers. He writes the internationally known blog, Flogging the Quill, on creating compelling fiction. Ray’s background includes screenwriting and advertising.

Related Writing Articles

3 Awesome Plot Structures for Building Bestsellers – Well-Storied

Three Ways to Plot Your NaNoWriMo Novel – Grammarly

8 Practical Tips to Avoid Too Much Plot in Your Novel – Writer’s Digest

10 Simple Tips For Writing Clever Plot Twists – Writer’s Edit

Character-Driven Vs. Plot Driven: Which is Best? – NY Book Editors

How to Plot a Novel: The Definitive Guide – Novel Writing Help

How to Plot a Novel: 7 Tips for Success – Now Novel

Plot Structure: How to Shape an Intriguing Plot – Now Novel

Writing Tips: The Importance of Character When Plotting Your Novel – The Creative Penn

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