Cause and Effect 1 – by Lara

One event/action, let’s say by the antagonist, triggers first an internal reaction and then an external reaction (decision, new goal, new action) from the protagonist, which in turn affects the antagonist.

  • ‘The king died and then the queen died,’ is a story.
  • ‘The king died, and then the queen died of grief,’ is a plot.
  • If a story we say ‘and then?’ If a plot we ask ‘why?’”
  • How are the scenes connected by cause and effect?
  • How does one scene/event/decision trigger the next?


Aspects of the Novel

  • Incident springs out of character, and having occurred it alters that character. 
  • The effect I would love to create around King Ahab — Melville — after the initial roughness of his realism — reaches straight back into the universal, to a blackness and sadness so transcending our own that they are undistinguishable from glory.
  • The function of rhythm in fiction; not to be there all the time like a pattern, but by its lovely waxing and waning to fill us with surprise and freshness and hope.

Making Plot Less Episodic

  • Leaving questions unanswered at the end of a scene
  •  if in chapter 3 you have a missing senator, you’d want more going on by chapter 6—perhaps characters and readers discover that the missing senator had “borrowed” sensitive materials and now both the senator and those materials are missing.
  • Objects that show up from scene to scene
  • events cause other events
  • use characters, even secondary and background characters, in multiple scenes.
Perhaps all your story needs is more time to percolate. That’s where brainstorming comes in. It takes time to accumulate ideas.
To help with this, consider Weiland’s blog posts on outlining (How-to-outline-your-novel).
Especially consider asking yourself those key “what if” questions she talks about (What-if).
Think about the big moments in your story (Big-moments.
You could read up on story structure too (Secrets-story-structure-complete-series/)
Consider the interplay between plot, character arc, and theme (Nanowrimo-guide-outlining-find-heart-of-your-story/).
Maybe writing a premise statement would be a good starting point – Find-overlooked-ingredient-successfully-marketing-book/
     —> This was going to be one of my next recommendations for focusing your thoughts and helping me to see how you envision the story progressing in a big picture sense.
You could also rewrite your scene summaries in terms of GMC or by pondering the building blocks of scene and sequel (Scene structure : SCENE: Goal, Conflict, Disaster, SEQUEL: Reaction, Dilemma, Decision.)
Another option would be to read stories that model your own. Consider Francine Rivers’ stories based on Biblical characters (“A Lineage of Grace,” about Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. “Sons of Encouragement,” about Aaron, Caleb, Jonathan, Amos, and Silas.) Or do a web or goodreads search (

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