Okay. Most of you (myself included) would admit that it’s challenging, if not exciting, to plan out your next book.
It must be simple, right? Think of an idea. Create characters and a good plot. Write a few hundred pages. And you’re done.
Not. That. Simple.
You’ve got to think of a plot that works. A beginning, middle, and end.
Beginning: introduce your characters, bring in a conflict or desire between your main character and an antagonist (can be animate or inanimate object), and set up how the main character is going to achieve his/her goal.
Middle: continue story with riveting twists and turns to achieve the solution to the problem/desire. You can even introduce a subplot, which is often more exciting than the main plot.
End: begin to wrap up the solution to the problem, but not before your character is forced to choose between good and evil in order to obtain his/her goal. This is the most exciting part in your story because you’ll hook your readers even more and keep them reading late into the night. Your conclusion should be satisfying and solve the problem your character faced in the beginning of the story.
Remember: readers who have a reason to care about the characters you’ve created will be hooked from beginning to end.
Here’s an example of my own story idea:
Clara has to babysit her little sister while their mother goes shopping. Clara also has to can the tomatoes (goal). Little sister Bevy proceeds to wreck Clara’s work (problem).
Clara is frustrated that Bevy is squashing all of the tomatoes and reacts angrily toward Bevy. Bevy runs outside (climax).
While cleaning up the tomato mess, Clara sees Beverly running toward the tractor where their dad is harvesting crops (unexpected climax that causes reader to care). Clara realizes the importance of her attitude toward Bevy (resolution to the problem).
The instructions might sound simple, and they are. But it takes practice to grasp the concept and execute it. Then. It. Will. Be. Simple.