Spent a most uncomfortable night with Tim after his surgery, (he was so comfortable he left little of the bed for me!) so did a fair bit of reading about plot and scene structure. This book said straight out that it is not enough to have great characters and a compelling problem. I also need a strong inner logic to my story - a step-by-step ordering of events that makes sense and feels satisfying to a reader.
I'm finding as I go through this last edit that my story is not always logical - at least, not as logical as I thought it was. It's hard for crit partners to detect this fault, for they read chapters at a time and rarely get to see the whole thing. But agents and editors spot it immediately, and there's many a near miss because of lack of structure.
So, there has to be a compelling story, well written and with engaging characters. Plot and structure have had the least attention with me - so far. perhaps now is the time to concentrate on that side of things. A basic plot structure begins with Act 1 - the beginning or set up. Here you introduce your main characters, your setting and what life is like for your characters. Readers need to connect right away with the characters. These things can be covered quite quickly, often in a few pages, certainly in the first chapter. Show who your main character is and what motivates him/her and hint at the troubles and problems to come.
At the end of the set-up comes the inciting incident, or first plot point, whatever you want to call the event that jerks the main character out of his/her normal life into some of of journey or problem to be solved.
Then comes conflict......but at the moment I'm having conflict with Tim who has woken up,
is bored and wants to go OUT.