A GUIDE TO DEVELOPING A PLOT #004
In this guide, I will be discussing the different parts of a plot, as well as ways to help you develop a basic plot for your roleplay. I will also be giving you some ideas on how to add different parts of a plot to your main plot through events and site wide plots. I hope you find this guide helpful, and if you have any questions, please let me know!
When creating a plot for a roleplay or even a plot between two characters, there are things you should and have when creating it. There are five parts to a plot, or story, and I am going to explain each of the different parts and some examples on how to use each in a roleplay. Before I begin, the reason I am going over this is because some people forget certain parts – and I am quite guilty of that as well. With these five parts, they can differ slightly, but for the most part you will see the gradual build-up of events, the climax, followed by a resolution.
The first part and step in the plot is exposition. It is the introduction to the story – background information that is needed to properly understand the plot. The inciting incident occurs here – the initial event which triggers the rest of the story. Most of the time, roleplay plots begin and end with this step. Why? When creating a roleplay plot, you want to give your roleplayers enough information to create the other parts of the plot – you want them to expand on your idea, to create their own world within yours. But you can expand on your plot, as an admin, through the other steps.
Rising action occurs right before the climax, or it occurs leading up to the climax. These actions can be anything that leads towards the climax of a story of a plot. An example would be, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry has to go through many tasks to actually get to the stone. For this part of a plot, in the main roleplay, you might not do a lot of rising action in the main plot. However, you can create rising action through giving your roleplayers “Events” or “Site Wide Plot” that will lead to your plot. A good way to actually use all five parts is to have different chapters in your story. Anyways, as a roleplayer, you can use the rising action with your partner to bring you both closer to the main part that you have discussed. For example, if you and your partner have decided that you want your characters to go hunting together, but one of them gets hurt, your rising action would be, possibly, them getting ready to go hunting, scouting for the animal (or human) they are hunting, and finding their target. The climax would then be they somehow get hurt in the hunting.
This is considered the high point in a plot. Or the most exciting part of the story. This is where all the rising action and conflict that are building up in the story finally reaches the peak. It is the moment of greatest danger, usually, or decision-making for the protagonist. The turning point, it’s considered. There isn’t much you can do with a climax in a roleplay situation. Like I stated above, most roleplay plots will begin and end with the exposition. The rest is mostly up to your roleplayers. What you, as an admin, can do to add drama is through events or site wide plots that your roleplayers will have to go through, as well as chapters. As roleplayers, you can create an entire small plot with a partner, and this is where the magic will happen! This is pretty much where your plot will lead to.
These are simply the events that occur right after the climax, or the after-effects of the climax. There isn’t much to do, again, except when you need to end a chapter or an event. In an update, you can say what has happened to your world in effect of a site wide plot or event. If that makes any sense at all.
This is the end of the story; there is usually a release of dramatic tension and anxiety. It can also be the portion at the end of the plot that reveals the final outcome of its conflicts or the solution of its mysteries. For roleplayers, this would be the end of your plots. After you finish the plot with your character, than perhaps you could write a self-paragraph explaining how the last plot effected your character.
There are many different ways that you can outline a plot or a story. I’m sure you all remember writing essay’s in school; your teacher would have you outline your essay topic through many different means. Listing ideas and creating a web are the two we are going to go over. For both examples, we are going to be using the movie Disney’s Peter Pan. I chose this because it’s one of my favorite movies created by Disney.
Now, I don’t know the actual term for this, but I’m just going to call it ‘listing ideas’. This outline is pretty simple and really easy to work with. The reason I like this one is because all you are doing is listing ideas – literally. Open up a word document and just go to town on it. So, if you were to do a roleplay based on Peter Pan and need to write a plot, here is how it might look with Listing Ideas:
- A world where children never grow up. (setting)
- You can only get there by flying towards the stars. (rising action)
- Neverland has mermaids, pirates, fairies, and the Lost Children. (character species)
- Peter Pan fell from his bed and befriended a fairy, who took him to Neverland. (exposition)
- The pirates are going to try and take over Neverland. (conflict)
So, for the sake of the guide, I am going to stop there. In the brackets, I put which idea went with things that I need. Looking at my list, I have all the components I need for a roleplaying plot. Of course you can add more ideas, but with these five sentences, I could create a pretty decent sized plot for a roleplay. The more ideas you have, the easier it will be to write a story.
Plot line Web
I’m pretty sure that, at least in American’s schooling, everyone has at least created a web at least once in their lifetime. Basically, we start with an idea in the middle of the web, and extend from there. This one is a little bit more difficult, and uses more hands-on work. I will be drawing up an example of what a web looks like down below.
As you can see, it’s pretty simple, though I much prefer the listing ideas for an outline. Web outlines can get messy and complicated very quickly. However, for those of you who work better with visuals, the web outline will be better for you.
From this point on, it’s a matter of putting your hard work into a coherent few paragraphs. The biggest thing you can do with your outlining and what not is to make it draw people in – make it exciting. Even if the plot is something that has been done many years, make it exciting, add your own twist to it. Make your plot something that YOU as a roleplayer would want to join and develop a character within that world. Developing a plot can start out with something as simple as a sentence to something as big as an entire idea. The whole idea is to create something that will interest other people and make them want to join your roleplay. Try your hand at different outline ideas. Remember, this is your chance to make someone want to murder (not literally) just to get a chance to be accepted into your roleplay.