Adron J. Smitley
2 min readAug 5, 2023

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One Simple Question . . . or How to Plot your Novel in Seconds

I’ll keep this short and sweet to stay in line with the theme of this post.

How to plot your novel in seconds depends on the Yes or No answer to the following question you should always start with before you even begin to outline: Does your protagonist eventually overcome, or surrender to, their dominant character flaw?

If yes (overcome), they are a triumphant protagonist with a false victory midpoint, a true victory climax, and a false defeat anchor point (all is lost) in between.

If no (surrender to), they are a tragic protagonist with a false defeat midpoint, a true defeat climax, and a false victory anchor point (all is joy) in between.

ERGO: end of Act 2A Midpoint → end of Act 2B Anchor Point → end of Act 3 Climax.

And what’s so great about this is that your antagonist’s plot points are the opposite of your protagonist’s, meaning if you have a triumphant protagonist then you automatically have a tragic antagonist, and vice versa.

With this one simple question answered you’ve just mapped out the three most major key events of your story for both protagonist and antagonist, and all it took you was a few measly seconds to answer one simple question: Does your protagonist eventually overcome, or surrender to, their dominant character flaw?

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STOMPING KITTENS: a punching babies sequel
YOR THE MIGHTY!

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Adron J. Smitley

Blog for writers on everything plot, character, and story structure architecture at: adronjsmitley.blogspot.com