9 Essential Plot Points for a Page-Turning Story

Updated: Aug 23

There are plenty of different systems for making sure you're hitting all the important plot points. This one is mine. I've presented these points at several conferences and writing workshops, now, and always get a good reception for them.


Download a FREE PDF of these plot points HERE.



1. The World Before - As in, the world before your story, before your conflict is introduced.


Example: Frodo leads a peaceful life in the Shire.


2. Intro of Conflict -The main character's (MC's) world changes in some way. Great time to introduce villain, problem the world produces, or over-arching conflict.


Example: Frodo learns what the One Ring is and what it might mean for his (and the Shire's) future.


3. Escalation #1/Call to Adventure - Things get worse. Put pressure on your characters. Great place for heart-pounding action. Things happen that are beyond the MC's control. They should be reacting, mostly out of desperation.


Example: The Black Riders show up and Frodo flees the Shire with the ring.


4. Turning Point - Characters go from reaction to action. Up until now, things were acting upon them. Now, they take their fate in their hands by deciding to DO something. (This usually follows them getting a lot more information that they didn't have before.)


Example: Frodo volunteers to take the One Ring to Mordor after the Council of Elrond.


5. Escalation #2 - Things get MUCH worse for your MC. Often this takes the form of a friend or mentor dying, the bad guys winning a great victory, some key part of the plan is lost, or some vital piece of information they didn't have comes back to bite them in the butt. Anything that puts their success in doubt and/or causes despair will work.


Example: Gandalf is killed by the balrog.


6. Climax - A confrontation between your MC and their major conflict and/or villain. (If it's a series, the over-arching villain may not appear until the end, but there's still a major conflict for the character in this installment.


Example: Frodo confronts the idea of whether or not he's up to (and whether it's worth it to him) to take the ring to Mordor.


7. Uber-Despair - This is your character's lowest point. They're sure they'll fail. They can't do what they've been trying to do the entire story. There is no hope.


Example: Frodo believes he'll have to go to Mordor alone and doesn't believe he's up to bearing the burden alone.


8. Ah Hah Moment - The solution to your character's dilemna is realized. Most often it is something they already possess, have within them, or have already done, but didn't realize it.


Example: Frodo realizes he has it within himself to destroy the ring. Also, because of past treatment, Sam's loyalty to Frodo is already in place and he comes to Mordor with his master.


9. Resolution - Resolve major conflicts in this installment (if not in overall series) and come to a good summing up place for the plot. If there will be further books in the series, do something that will propel readers toward the next novel.


Example: Frodo and Sam head into Mordor


Those are my 9 Plot Points for a page-turning story. I use them on many levels and to write all of my books. For more information, listen to the podast. I flesh out a few additional points there.


Download a FREE PDF of these plot points HERE.



What do you think of the 9 Plot Points?

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