NaNoWriMo Prompts for Plot

My previous post was to encourage you to let your imagination soar during NaNoWriMo. My prompts for the month will help you with this task. First I have NaNoWriMo prompts for plot. Below are suggestions to bring propulsion to your plot if you find it bogging down.

  • Your main character makes a new friend.
  • Your main character makes a new enemy.
  • The antagonist makes a new friend or enemy.
  • Your main character loses something critical.
  • Your main character finds something unexpected, either helpful or harmful.
  • A friend reveals an unexpected trait. (This can be tricky because you want to surprise your reader, not shock them.)
  • Your main character discovers a new virtue or flaw. (This is especially believable if you write YA.)
  • Your main character does something he thinks is good but it turns out to be bad and vice versa.
  • The antagonist does something he thinks will hurt someone and it turns out to be good for that character.

Since I write mysteries, I’ll list some prompts to help you if you find difficulties with your mystery plot.

  • Your main character loses an important clue.
  • The first main suspect becomes a victim of a crime.
  • Your main character begins to suspect a friend or relative of the crime.
  • A friend or relative of your main character comes under a threat.
  • Officials make an arrest, and your main character thinks they have the wrong person.
  • If your main character has an ally, the two characters fight and go their separate ways, at least for a while.
  • A key witness changes her story.
  • People in authority pressure your main character to drop the investigation. Or to solve it quickly.
  • Your main character is injured. (Be careful with this one. If your main character is too seriously hurt, the focus of the story shifts to the injury and slows the pace. I read a mystery where the main character suffered so much from a concussion throughout the book that pretty soon I had a headache.)
  • A chase of some kind, to rescue someone or gain a clue.
  • Your main character tails someone, which can turn into a chase.

For more NaNoWriMo prompts, click here. What suggestions do you have for kick-starting a stalling plot?

What’s the Plot Behind This Face?

The county fair wrapped up recently in my part of the Buckeye State, so when I scrolled onto this photo, I was intrigued. The young man is upset and thinking something over. What’s the plot behind this face?

The music blaring from the speakers on the midway grows faint as I watch them. Tyler is almost a coat for Addie. He’s hanging all over her. She seems to like it. I think.

She sets aside the BB gun, and smiling, moves away from the game, weaving through a group of middle school kids.

Tyler drapes his thick arm across her thin shoulders. Addie giggles.

But is it because she likes it or because she doesn’t? How can a guy tell?

They stroll behind the Ferris wheel.

“Andy.” My little sister tugs on my arm. “We want more money for tickets.”

“Here.” I pull every bill from my wallet. “When you and Mark are done, wait by the bumper cars for me.”

“Where are you going?” asks Mark.

I point at the Ferris wheel and head for it, breaking into a jog.

For more plot prompts to inspire your writing, click here. Over at Writer’s Digest, find 25 plot twists and prompts.

What’s the Plot for this Scene?

What’s the plot for this scene? What drama can you add to two people out on a trail ride? Below is my inspiration.

The top arc of the sun just clears the horizon as we trot down the deserted country lane. A woodpecker drums on the snag of a dead ash.

Dad hasn’t said a word to me since I asked to ride with him this morning. Maybe he thinks it’s weird since I haven’t ridden with him in months. Or is it a year? Maybe he knows I wouldn’t ask to accompany him unless I wanted something from him.

I tighten my grip on the reins. Most likely, he isn’t thinking about me at all. Like usual.

Dad takes Paladin into a canter. Squeezing with my legs, I put Cinnamon into one. When we slow back to a trot, I test the waters.

“Dad?”

His block of a face registers no expression, but his head dips a fraction.

“The county fair’s next week. I’m competing on Tuesday. Can you come watch me?”

He shakes his head. “I have meetings all day. I can’t reschedule them.”

And he wouldn’t even try. I stare at the reins in my gloved hands. Should I even bother with what I really need to ask him?

For more plot writing prompts, click here.

What’s the Plot for this Ordinary Scene?

This month’s prompts are all about plot, the story component I have the most trouble with. If you have that problem too, I hope these photo prompts will inspire you. I almost passed by the photo I’m using today because it seemed so ordinary. But that’s what fired my imagination. What’s the plot for this ordinary scene? Below is my idea.

As we wrapped up the meeting, I noticed how everyone looked alike. We were all wearing sober blue or black suits. We were all smiling in a friendly but professional way, although I hadn’t felt friendly or professional in weeks. We had just had the fifth meeting of the day to discuss things we would discuss in a meeting next week and the week after that. Had we’d decided to do anything in any of those meetings? I didn’t think so.

“Is something wrong, David?” Amy said as she resumed her seat beside me.

How could she tell? I touched my face. My smile was gone. And I had a feeling it wasn’t coming back.

For more plot prompts, click here.

What’s your plot for this ordinary scene?

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