The First Plot Point (#3 of 12 Sentences)

#3 First Plot Point

#3 of only 12 sentences you need to define your entire novel.

25% of the way into your novel is the First Plot Point, where your hero realizes they’re on a journey, whether they like it or not.

Watch a television drama. About 15 minutes in, something happens just before they cut to the commercial which tells you exactly what the show is going to be about. The main character learns something that makes their path for the next 45 obvious and unavoidable.

That moment is the First Plot Point.

It’s not necessarily the inciting incident. The inciting incident is what causes the First Plot Point, and can be invisible to the characters. Its significance may slip by the reader unnoticed.

Not so with the First Plot Point. Your reader needs to know something happened. Since we’ve spent the first 1/4 of the book, the Setup, creating an empathetic character and showing what drives them, the First Plot Point makes us fear for them because of the stakes involved, the potential consequences. And it shows us that they have no choice: they’re on this quest whether they like it or not.

  • It defines the quest of the hero from that point forward.
  • It creates and clarifies stakes.
  • It implies consequences that will stem from both the hero’s success and failure.
  • It creates sudden risk and opposition no one saw moments before.

The First Plot Point may seem to leap from thin air, but once your reader catches their breath, they should see how it arose from the Setup and that it perfectly strikes at our hero’s weak spot.

Which just makes the stakes all the higher.

Write one sentence describing the event or information which changes your hero’s world and send them on a quest.

Tomorrow, #4: Response.

My Pathfinding Session for fiction authors will dredge up these 12 sentences from the secret place they’re hiding in the back of your mind. It’s $1,000 worth of writing coaching for only $325. Follow this link to read about it and sign up.

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