This writing advice was so helpful that it deserved its own picture heading.
A huge part of writing is cause and effect, but when worrying about conflict, resolution, characters, the plot as a whole, and more, we tend to forget about this and our stories end up being described as “this happens and then this happens and then this happens…”
So a piece of writing advice from Matt Stone and Trey Parker addressing this completely changed the way I plot and I ended up flying through my outlines with full plots in a very short amount of time. Here’s the advice:
When you are outlining/summarizing your story, you should be able to put “because of this” or “therefore” between each scene/event.
This keeps the story going. It connects everything together to make it one narrative instead of a series of slightly connected short stories. Once you start describing your story as “this happens and then this happens”, then you’ve got a problem. Everything should transition easily in a connected narrative.
This might seem like an obvious thing, but I know a lot of writers, including myself, who tend to forget about it.