5 Tips for Creating a Riveting Plot

Plot works along with setting and characters to draw your readers into your story and keep them riveted until the last sentence.

Plot, at its core, is what happens in the story. Many writers feel like they need an exciting new idea for their story plot but newness and originality aren’t the keys to hooking readers.  Here are 5  things (other than having a flashy new idea) that will help you keep readers invested in your story plot.

A train representing the journey of the story plot for self-publishing a book

1. Use the Right Structure

Be careful when choosing your structure. Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Adventure frequently follow the structure of the Hero’s Journey however Romance and mystery tend to follow Three Act Structure.

Making sure you are following the correct structure for the story you are telling and the genre it is being told in is vital. The wrong structure can lead to a story that feels choppy, has inconsistent pacing, and makes the reader put down your book.

2. Conflict is King

At the most basic level, plot is a character wanting something and being unable to get it.

It is important that your plot is paved with conflict. Stories, where nothing happens, are boring.

Plot should involve characters going up against seemingly impossible odds to strive for the thing they need.

Conflict can stem from other characters, from the setting, or simply from the realities of the plot. For instance, a character who needs to win a marathon will need to be physically fit to do so. If they are already physically fit and the marathon is easy for them to run there is no conflict and the story of a character running a marathon they are can already physically run is boring. Watching a character struggle to get fit for the marathon and sacrifice the things they love to train their body has the potential to be full of conflict and create an interesting read.

3. Outline the Plot

There are some writers who can sit down and tell a story by the seat of their pants but those writers tend to be few and far between.

Writing a general outline that lists the conflicts characters will encounter allows the writer to be sure their plot has enough conflict to be interesting. It also will help the writer take the character from one failure or success to the next until they get to the climax of the story. Having a plot outline, even if it is a vague one, is an extremely useful tool for writers when it comes to creating a strong plot for their story.

4. Deviate from Genre Formulas at Your Peril

Genre fiction has rules about plot and pacing. Those rules should be followed unless there is an extremely good story reason not to do so.

It is exciting for readers when their expectations are subverted but only if it is done well.

Understand the genre you are writing in and follow the basic story map for your plot. Deviate where appropriate but don’t try to subvert the entire genre unless you are writing a satire.

Readers pick up genre fiction for a reason and with certain expectations of the plot. An adventure story is going to be full of danger. A mystery will be solved at the end and the bad guys will pay for their misdeeds. The lovers in a romance will continue on in their love after the pages close.

When plotting out your story keep reader expectations of the genre in the forefront of your thoughts. Know what readers want from a genre and try to deliver it in a new and interesting way.

5.  Focus on How

Too many writers get hung up on what the plot of their book is. In reality, even a fairly benign plot can be made interesting if told in the right way.

Plot should tie in with setting and characters to keep the reader engaged. Conflict should flow naturally from the elements of the story so that they feel believable and not contrived. Plot is the vehicle for carrying the story along but it is only one element of the story. Combining a conflict-filled plot, epic characters, and an engaging setting is the key to making a riveting story that readers will not only enjoy but will want to tell all their bookish friends about.

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7 Things Every Guidebook Should Include

Guidebooks help guests make the most of their visits to an attraction.

Guidebooks should be written in plain language so that it is easy for guests to understand. It should also be easy to use and attractive to look at.

Here are seven items that every guidebook should include:

1. Maps

It is easy to get lost in an area one has never visited before. Every guidebook should have a detailed map of the attraction. It is important to label points of interest so that guests can make the most of their visit.

A woman reading a guidebook in the car from a guide book publishing company

The map should also include restrooms, security stations, first aid stations, gift shops, and customer service stations. Having these items on the map directs guests to the appropriate places to get their needs met and creates a safe environment for them to enjoy the attraction.

2. Safety Information

Guests not only need to know who to go to for assistance but what to do in case of an emergency.

Potential emergencies vary based on the size and location of your attraction. For instance, an indoor attraction should have fire exits clearly marked. Outdoor attractions with shelters intended for use during bad weather should be clearly marked in the guidebook.

The guidebook should also indicate where any onsite automated external defibrillators (AED) are and include directions on their use.

Additionally, emergency contact information should be listed even if it is as simple as indicating that 911 should be called for emergencies. People from out of the country may not be familiar with local emergency numbers and in emergencies, people often panic. Having a safety section in your guidebook keeps your visitors safe.

3. Attraction Rules

It is important to have a list of rules for guests to follow. Sometimes attraction owners think that rules should be self-evident but guests who have never been to a similar attraction before may be unaware not to touch paintings in a museum or to stay behind the boundaries at a zoo for safety.

Whatever rules you expect your guests to follow should be stated clearly in your guidebook so that visitors know how to behave appropriately.

4. Attraction Dates and Times

Every attraction owner wants their visitors to return for subsequent trips. It is important to tell guests the times that the attraction is open as well as any dates the attraction is closed. If an attraction varies by season, such as a living history farm, that should be noted as well. This lets guests know what to expect from different visits and to plan future visits. Be sure to include any fun traditional events like Christmas lights or 4th of July fireworks.

5. Contact Information

Make sure your guidebook lists contact information that guests might need. This should include the phone number to customer service, the website, and any social media presence your attraction has.

6. History

Make sure your guidebook includes some history and context for your attraction. How did it come to be, who created it, why was it created, etc. If pictures are available include them. Guests will appreciate learning the wider context of the attraction they are visiting. It will help them appreciate the sights they are seeing and make them feel emotionally invested in their visit.

7. Local Interests

Your guests will be coming from far and wide. It is wise to give them information in your guidebook about the area outside of your attraction. Suggesting lodgings, foods, and related attractions can give your visitors a more impactful visit. Be sure to include local small businesses. Visitors will appreciate experiencing the uniqueness of your area and will want to visit your attraction again.

Now that you know what to include in your guidebook are you ready to get started? InstantPublisher can help with all your professional printing needs. Whether you want to make informational guidebooks, eye-catching calendars, or glamorous brochures InstantPublisher is the printer for you. Visit our website today for more information.