What is a Plot Point?

A plot point is one of the significant turning points in a story. You can think of it as the major obstacles or events that happen throughout a story. It’s these plot points that make any story memorable and entertaining.

The term “plot” can refer to both the storyline and its progression, including the occurrences and changes during the story’s timeline. It could also refer to specific events within each chapter of a novel. 

This article will cover both types – how they differ, when you can use them, and their importance in telling an engaging narrative.

What is a Plot Point?

Plot points are plot devices that change the direction of a story. You can consider them incidents that impact what’s going to happen next in the story. These incidents aim to change the motion of a narrative to another direction, from where it was. 

Plot points can give a story an entirely different perspective. However, any incident in a story isn’t necessarily a plot point. If an event – such as an encounter between two people or a character’s transformation – doesn’t impact the story somehow, you can’t consider it a plot point. 

These incidents are also responsible for impacting character development. Moreover, it might close a chapter in a character’s life, pushing them to move forward or take some action. 

Sometimes, plot points can be effective ways to alter the state of the narrative, from mundane to highly intriguing. If you, as a reader, had lost interest in a story, an exciting plot point might pull you back. To sum it up, these incidents make any story worth remembering. 

Example Of A Plot Point

In a story about a man who lacks emotional depth and cannot feel love, the plot point could be when he meets his next-door neighbor and falls in love. Slowly, the man understands love and how to love. 

Or if someone is exploring their sexuality for the first time while being closeted for years, the plot point will be meeting someone at work and their life getting transformed overnight. 

In both these scenarios, you can see how the story had a very linear narrative, which transformed after introducing the plot point. So, the mundane lives of these characters were rapidly moved to a new direction. It also sparked the reader’s interest and gave them a unique perspective on the story. 

How Does A Plot Point Affect The Protagonist?

A plot point can transform the entire life story of the protagonist. It can change their life entirely or just for a while. However, this transformation can be positive or negative. Whatever it is, the plot point has to alter the protagonist’s life in some way or the other. 

The protagonist must be aware of that plot point, and the writer is responsible for executing it properly. 

A good example: In a story about one person’s grief following an unexpected death in their family, which later turns into acceptance. It happens due to a plot point – when they meet someone who reminds them why living is worthwhile. This plot point was used very well in Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth.

In this example, you can see how vital plot points are because they create tension and drama. It’s important as, without any drama, the readers will slowly lose interest in the story. And no writer or reader wants that to happen! 

Types Of Plot Points 

Plot points can occur at any point within the story, but some primary plot points are present in almost every story. 

Inciting Incident

This plot point usually occurs within the first five pages of a novel or relatively early in any story. You can consider a situation where the protagonist has just realized that his or her life isn’t the same anymore. However, this incident isn’t enough to transform their lives completely.

So, after this incident, the protagonist will return to his/her everyday life. 

An inciting incident is also used to introduce conflict between characters. For example, two people falling in love but knowing they can’t be together because one person has already married someone else. 

First Plot Point

This plot point occurs due to the events of the inciting incident. It might lead to cause significant emotional or physical changes in the protagonist. It can create a situation of conflict, where the hero has to take some action. 

For example, Bruce Wayne as a child, watches his parents getting murdered by a mugger. He immediately couldn’t take any actions but understood that his life will never be the same ever again. Slowly, he confides to his butler Alfred, who later becomes his guardian and friend. 

The first plot point usually occurs about midway through the novel, but this is not always the case. It can be at any point in a story until some climax has been reached – which would then become the main plot points for that particular story. 

The Midpoint

This section follows after the first plot point, where the protagonist tries to pick himself up and move forward with his life. Most of the initial problems will be solved by this time, but the protagonist will be exposed to more significant issues. 

Therefore, the story will yet again pushed in a new direction. It’s at this point where both the character and story start to develop. 

The midpoint can also be introduced anywhere in the middle section of the story, dividing the story into two sections. After the midpoint, the protagonist will try to solve the problem or overcome the challenge presented to him. 


These plot points usually lead to a climactic turning point in the story. They are often used because they have an intense moment that can be written and executed well, which is what makes it so compelling for readers. 

For example, the main character finally learns something that will change everything about their life. Many writers consider the climax as the most important plot point in any book. It’s because it brings all of the tension up to a conclusive end.

Difference Between A Plot Point And Plot

A plot point is a pivotal moment in the story, usually arising halfway through the story or even before it. It can be a problem or an opportunity that is introduced to the protagonist, which leads him into action. Moreover, these are the moments that you usually remember after finishing the book or movie. 

A plot, on the other hand, refers to everything that happens in between these points of change – how they get from one point to another. It describes how events unfold to make up the overall storyline. So, a plot defines what the story is about and is a collection of different plot points.

However, if any of those events of the plot doesn’t have any significant effect on the protagonist or the narrative, it isn’t a plot point. 

Tips To Create Plot Points For A Story

Plot points not only give your story substance it also makes it compelling enough to restore the reader’s attention. Here are some tips for creating and using plot points in any story – 

  • Introduce a new problem or opportunity for the protagonist. This can be something that happens before the start of the story in order to create tension and conflict. 
  • Make sure it’s significant enough to profoundly impact the protagonist and the story arc. 
  • Invoke a dramatic turn of events. It is typically the discovery that triggers new problems or opportunities in the story.
  • Create an unexpected plot twist, which should be believable and have consequences for your protagonist and other characters.
  • Introduce some new information to your reader. It must make them question their previous assumptions about the plot line up to this point. 

Whatever you do, make sure the reader is hooked to read the story further and reaches the end already excited. 


Plot points are essential for any story to progress and keep the reader intrigued till the very end. No matter which direction they take the story, they always stay rooted to the central plotline. So, even if a plot point seems irrelevant, it will somehow add to the protagonist’s character and take the plot to another level.

Therefore, if you’re writing a story, make sure not to introduce too many plot points, which might confuse the reader. Your aim must be to create an exciting narrative that stays with the reader long after reading it.  

Josh Fechter
Josh is the founder and CEO of Squibler.