Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'm Plotting... no, not the evil kind

I have decided that I am terrible at plot.

I get these really great ideas (when I was first querying A Bridge to War so many people were going "historical werewolves? That's so cool!") and then they don't go anywhere. It is most terribly frustrating. The reason I am not currently working on ABtW is because it literally has no plot that I can find. As hard as I try I cannot make sense of it, which is extremely irritating because I absolutely love where the characterization, atmosphere, tone, and prose style were going in that rewrite. When I fix it (and I WILL fix it - I am too fond of that idea and those characters to let it die) some of the stuff from my most recent rewrite will definitely be added. I just need to figure out what to do with it.

And now I'm trying to figure out what to do in the meantime. And I have four potential projects:

1. The steampunky story I teased from on Tuesday. Problem: All premise, no plot whatsoever (seriously, Will is one of the most silent characters I have ever encountered. He won't tell me anything!!!)

2. Another Victorian epistolary novel about a girl who goes to live with her father's regiment in India and all the trouble her brother gets them into. Problem: Ridiculously vague outline, no ending or motivation for anything.

3. A revamped version of the epic fantasy I've had kicking around in my head since freshman year of high school. Problem: Loads of fun characters, no plot.

4. Starting up the graphic novel Ella Fastiggi (update your blog, silly!) and I have planned out based on the short story I wrote involving faerie hunting. Problem: Awesome premise, no ending point (aka... no plot).

I sense a trend, don't you?

So I want to know how you guys come up with plots. Do they just fall out of the sky? Are they the results of meticulous outlining? Somewhere in between? When you've got a great idea but don't know what to do with it, what do you do? Maybe you guys can give me some ideas about what to do with these strange half-stories.


  1. Plots are so horrible. I'll do 100 pages of outlining, only to write it out in the novel and change it completely. OR wake up at 3am and go "Omigod, he could die! That's an awesome idea!" and then THAT changes everything.

    Also, if my vote counts for anything, No.3 sounds good. Get the pesky epicness out before it drowns you. Ick. :)

  2. I like 2 the best. There's so many options for plot - they could be helping the father further his career, foiling a spy within the ranks, secretly helping a small group of Indian children escape from being conscripted into the enemy troops.

    Personally, I have a premise and then write. It all works out generally in the end ^_^

  3. Pick the one you have the most plot for! All you need is a vague idea of the main conflict.

    And do you draw? I aw the graphic novel at the end there- I used to write graphic novels :)

  4. Remember that book I was telling you about... the No Plot No Problem one? If u remind me over break I'll lend it to you... =D Having a resolution figured out is a good thing- If you can puzzle out a good ending, sometimes the rest just comes together... but sometimes not. X)

  5. Caitlin: Yeah, I just can't seem to figure one out right now. Hopefully my muse will come to me. :)

    Julia: That's generally what I do. But just at the moment that doesn't seem to be working either. Ah well...

    Che: No, I don't draw, but Ella does. She's an illustration major and she's amazing. :)

    Erin: You've lent that to me before, actually. I didn't find it particularly helpful, but thanks! I think I just need to relax and stop worrying about it and something will come to me.

  6. Possibly. Go read something neat- a history or something. The duller and more in significant details the better! X)

  7. What's happened with me in the past is that I look at my characters and try to think of creative ways for them to mess with each other. In one novel I have a group of teenagers foiling a plot for world domination, and in another I have a werewolf girl accidentally falling for a werewolf hunter, until she finds out what he is... and he tries to kill her. Happy, happy.

  8. Well, I'm good at plot - just got other stuff to work on. That's the fun part though, when you widdle at it until you fix it and become better. Just like you will.