One of the most useful things I learned was how to use SET PIECES in your writing.
SET PIECES are big moments in your story. Almost like mini-plots within your main plot. They move your main plot along.
Stories should: build, build, build to a set piece, resolve and leave a question that makes the reader want to continue. This should repeat multiple times
in a story until the final resolution. I will try to use an example that everyone should know:
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE
Start: Harry is left as a baby.
Set Piece: Harry finds out he is a wizard.
Resolution: He gets to leave the Dursleys
Question: What does he do now? Why is he famous?
Set Piece: Sorting ceremony.
Resolution: He is put in Gryffindor
Question: Why not Slytherin?
Set Piece: Harry finds out about the Sorcerer’s Stone
Resolution: Harry’s friendship with Ron and Hermione is solidified.
Question: How do they save the stone?
Set Piece: Voldemort is looking for the stone too.
Resolution: Dumbledore will protect the stone.
Question: How can Harry help?
Set Piece: Harry, Ron, and Hermione go after the stone.
Final Resolution: Harry saves the stone and his friends.
This is extremely simplified. You can have many SET PIECES in your book. They are a great way to move your plot along and keep your story from sagging in the middle.
Obviously during the building parts you layer in your characters, world building, sub-plots, back story, and motivations.
Learning about Set Pieces made me understand how better to construct my story. Again if you want to learn a ton read: PLOT by Ansen Dibell.
Happy Writing J