Five Components to a Good Plot

A writing tip from Nathan Bransford

There are precisely five components to a good plot, and you need them all:

1. Something happens to set your protagonist’s life ajar

2. He or she wants something really big

3. He or she goes on a physical or mental journey (or both) to try and get that thing

4. He or she encounters obstacles of increasing intensity along the way and experiences up and down moments in pursuit of that thing

5. He or she either does or doesn’t get that thing but ends up irrevocably changed


Nathan Bransford is the author of How to Write a Novel, Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow, Jacob Wonderbar for President of the Universe, and Jacob Wonderbar and the Interstellar Time Warp. He was formerly a literary agent with Curtis Brown Ltd. and is now the director of community and social media at Freelancers Union. He lives in Brooklyn.

The most important thing to know about writing a novel is this: You can do it. And if you've already written one, you can write an even better one. Author and former literary agent Nathan Bransford shares his secrets for creating killer plots, fleshing out your first ideas, crafting compelling characters, and staying sane in the process.

Click on the cover to visit the book’s Amazon page.

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