So, I’ve been plodding semi-steadily through the fourth draft of my mermaids & Neverland short story, and trying to get some other projects off the ground. It’s been slow going, guys. Partly because I’m feeling drained and a little discouraged, partly because summer isn’t usually a productive time for me, and partly because I can’t plot to save my life.
My idea-getting always begins with relationships. Not even specific characters, but a specific type of dynamic I’d like to explore. If I’m lucky, there’s enough to this relationship to suggest the kind of characters who’d be involved in it. For my Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling, I knew I wanted to explore the relationship between the sisters, plus the eldest princess’ interactions with the soldier. I was also lucky enough to have the basic plot already laid out for me. Most times, I don’t, and this is where things get tough.
I can’t plot, at least not as well as I’d like to, and never easily. For some reason, getting characters from point A to point B is a struggle for me. They’re so many times when I’ve written a decent opening scene before realizing that I have no clue where the story should go next. I’ve tried outlining, flash cards, and freewriting, but so far I haven’t found the magic bullet that will turn me into a plotting whiz. Mostly I just have to muddle through and hope I make it to the end.
Maybe I’m more of a character writer, but 100+ pages of nothing but pointless conversations and introspection do not a good story make. I love tightly plotted books, and I’d love to learn how to improve my plotting “skills”. So my question today is, how do you guys plot? Whether you outline or don’t, whether your stories are plot- or character-focused, I’d love to hear how you navigate from point A to point B.
Picture Credit: X