Story Structure: Writing the Second Plot Point [Novel Boot Camp #7]

The second plot point occurs right before the fourth quarter of the novel. It gives the protagonist the last piece of information necessary to enable them to move towards the climax of the novel. In this video I explain how to write the second plot point so that the entire fourth quarter of the novel leads to a strong climax.

Video Highlights

  • The second plot point occurs 75% to 80% into a novel.
  • The second plot point provides the protagonist with the last piece of key information necessary for the protagonist to move towards the climax.
  • No information, allies, concepts, or items vital to the climax should be introduced after the second plot point.
  • To move seamlessly from the second plot point to the climax, it’s helpful to use a series of obstacles or trials that force the character to use skills they learned or allies they gained earlier in the novel.

Questions to Ask About Your Novel

1. Is there a key event or a key piece of information that directs the character towards the climax?

Whatever happens at the second plot point should give the protagonist the last thing they need to succeed in the climax. After the second plot point, the protagonist needs to execute their plan, face challenges, and fight to the finish, but the protagonist should already have everything he/she is going to take into the climax.

2. Is there enough space between the second plot point and the climax?

The most common problem with the second plot point is that it happens too late. If there isn’t enough space between the second plot point and the climax, the reader is less likely to find the climax satisfying. Keep in mind that the sequence leading up to the climax and the climax itself is what the entire novel has been leading up to. You don’t want to rush this section of the novel. The second plot point indicates to the reader that everything is about to pay off.

If you have any questions about writing the second plot point, please post it in the comments below.

Comment Question: Do you find the second plot point difficult to write? Do you have trouble “filling” the fourth quarter of your novel?

Workshop #1 critiques will be posted later today and every day this week. If you didn’t get a chance to submit last week, the submission form is still open!

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3 thoughts on “Story Structure: Writing the Second Plot Point [Novel Boot Camp #7]

  1. Anonymous says:

    I actually haven’t written that part yet, but I have a good idea what I want to do. I am having more of a problem being patient enough to build the story to the second plot point. Once I write it, the story should pretty much move on it’s own to the conclusion.

    Having said that, I assume it is normal to regularly question whether the plot point to be created will be ‘good enough’, or ‘exciting enough’? I am resisting the urge to embellish the plot point I want to create, I don’t want to hammer it like a nail, I want to place it like a dart.

  2. Nicole L Ochoa says:

    This is the part I am struggling with, it is hard to introduce that final element then not rush to the climax without introducing any more new information. I need to work on my “tiny battles.” I recently read a few articles that discussed how this period of time should have the readers on the edge of their seats with an idea of the outcome, but they should currently be suffering the torture of a few shades of doubt.

  3. Pam Portland (@TruckingWriter) says:

    I think my biggest challenge with my second plot point in my current piece of work is I think the second plot point is when the protagonist impulsively books a one-way ticket to her final destination. This occurs just days after she is introduced to the man that eventually becomes the person who changes her life even more than her travel goal fulfills her. So which event is really the second plot point?

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