Gotta have a plot.
I know, I know! What does plot matter if the characters move you? Or the settings are so intriguing you fall in love with a place that doesn’t exist?
For small works, I think a plot-less story may satisfy a reader. It may even satisfy a great many readers, but, at least for me, if a story doesn’t have a plot, I lose interest after some time. I end up begging myself, and the author, but what’s my hero after or what’s after my hero?
Having trouble with plot? Try summarizing your story’s plot in a few short sentences. Like this (from Pixar’s 22 storytelling rules):
Once upon a time, there was ____________. Every day, ____________. One day, ____________. Because of that, ____________. Because of that, ____________. Until finally, ____________.
That is, of course, an over simplification, but you should be able to apply this summary technique for every story in existence (except for plot-less stories, I guess). Let’s try it on my defunct novel.
Once upon a time, there was a zoographer living in Spain. Every day, he worked and saved his money for the chance to win the heart of a married woman. One day, the church sends him into the mountains to hunt for a winged demon. Because of that, his family is put into jeopardy. Because of that, he learns a thing or two about himself. Until finally, he changes his priorities and saves the lives of innocents.
Okay, maybe I should have done something like this before I finished my book, but though I had to leave out a lot of details, I think it still works. What do you think? What tools do you use to formulate your story plot?