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A plot roller coaster is a great visual of what your plot will look like.
: This is where it all begins. This section of your novel introduces the reader to your main character and the setting of your story.
: Here is the action that pushes your main character into the adventure! In the beginning of the story, your protagonist is waltzing through life... but then BAM! something happens to cause a conflict or problem and set them on the path of adventure. What problem will your character face?
: In the rising action, the protagonist of the story is faced with mounting problems as he or she attempts to solve the conflict. With each scene, the story builds and tension increases. Try to think of at least three problems or scenes your protagonist must face as they work through the main conflict of your story.
: This is often the most exciting point in the story, where everything changes for the protagonist. The main conflict is not yet solved, but things will now begin to head more or less toward the resolution.
: Problems begin to have solutions as the main character heads towards the conclusion of the story. What are two or three events that your main character needs to face before solving their problem?
: The final outcome is revealed and all loose ends are tied up. The reader feels they have a satisfactory end to the story, even if it was not the solution they were expecting.
You can use the plot roller coaster to outline the main parts of your story. Start with a blank roller coaster like this:
Still not sure what to think about the plot roller coaster? Watch this video for more help!
Kate Messner on Outlining
Create a title, synopsis (summary), and list of chapters that will bring your story from introduction to solution. The following example was found at
Chapter Book Challenge
: The Magic Necklace
: 12 year old Sandra finds a magic necklace in her attic that gives her the power to read minds. Due to this new power, she finds out about a dangerous plot to rob the bank her mother works for and, while trying to stop the robbery from happening, she learns that her powers are not limited to just the necklace and that there is more to the men robbing the bank than meets the eye.
Sandra finds the necklace and learns of its power
1. She tests out her new mind-reading powers on her family.
Sandra goes to school, wearing the necklace..
1. She finds out the thoughts of her friends and also of the girl who hates her.
1a. She's able to foil the hateful girls attempts to embarrass her.
Dream sequence where Sandra learns about her grandma's connection to the necklace
: Sandra finds out about the planned robbery.
1. She tries to warn the security guard at the gate bit isn't believed
2. She notices that she is being followed by one of the robbers
Sandra plans a way to stop the robbery from happening
1. Sandra puts her plan into action
2. The robber that got away
: Dream sequence where Sandra finds out from her grandma that her powers are not limited to the necklace
Sandra gets kidnapped by one of the robbers.
1. She finds out that the robber has powers too.
Sandra makes her escape.
1. She gets lost in the forest while running from the cabin.
Sandra has a vision and a new power wakes up inside of her.
1. She meets her animal guide in person.
: Sandra fights back.
1. She finds a ride to safety.
: Sandra is safe. The bank is safe. Her family is safe.
1. But what about these new powers and the feeling that someone else is after her?
This outline is for a middle grade book. If I didn't want to write it in chapters, I would write it out in a brief summary of plot points, like so:
The Magic Necklace
1. Finding the necklace, the magic
2. School conflict
a. reading her friends' minds
b. her school nemesis
a. learning about the necklace
b. learning about her powers
4. Finding out about the robbers
a. making a plan
b. taking action
5. The kidnapping
a. learning there are others with powers
6. Fighting back
a. getting home
b. questions for the next book
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