Plot Rollercoaster (from NaNo Workbook)

The Set-Up
What kind of rollercoaster are we getting on?
Though some novels begin with an “inciting incident”—which you will read about in just a
second—many of them start by telling the reader a little bit about the characters, the setting,
and the conflict before jumping into the action. Just like you'd want to know what kind of
rollercoaster you're getting on before waiting in line, a reader wants to know what kind of
novel he or she is about to read before committing time to it.

The Inciting Incident
Getting on the rollercoaster
The inciting incident launches your protagonist into the adventure whether he or she is ready
or not. It can be a pretty scary moment for your main character. Once it happens, there's no
turning back.

Rising Action
Climbing the big hill
This will be the longest section of your novel. You will develop your characters, deepen their
relationships with one another, and carefully pace all the important things that happen to
them before the climax. Think of the rising action as the biggest hill on the rollercoaster—the
higher you go, the more suspenseful it gets. The rising action is made up of many events,
each of them building to the most exciting part of your story: the climax.

The Climax
The top of the rollercoaster
This is the moment at the very top of the rollercoaster, right before your high-speed drop.
This moment doesn’t last long, and neither does the climax in your novel. It can be as short
as a couple paragraphs—just enough to make your readers hold their breath in suspense
and ask, “What’s going to happen next?!”

The Falling Action
The high-speed drop
The falling action is what happens next. It is the fast-paced, action-packed part of your
novel. You’re finally speeding down the tracks of the rollercoaster with your hands in the
air! Does the antagonist get defeated? Do the protagonist’s dreams finally come true? If so,
how? Keep in mind however that just because the falling action is fast-paced, it doesn't have to
be over quickly. In some novels, the falling action actually takes place over whole chapters.
What's important is that the action is paced to feel exciting whether it spans mere minutes
or whole years of your characters' lives.

The Resolution
Getting off the rollercoaster
The resolution is how things work out in the very end, after your protagonist gets (or doesn’t
get) what he or she wants. It has been said by creative writing sages that your characters—
especially your protagonist—must change over the course of the book
. This change happens
gradually as your character battles his or her fears, defeats villains, and forges friendships
and relationships with a cast of amazing characters. All of these adventures will end up
changing the way your main character sees the world and his or her place in it. Try to use
the final scenes to highlight those changes.