I recently heard author Jeanne Adams speak about Plotting for Success! How to Plot, even if you hate it. She admitted that she often had trouble in the middle of her books and realized it would help if she developed some sort of plot.
Plotting can keep you from painting yourself into a corner or running into dead ends. It can help you finish your current book instead of moving on to a new one.
Some people told her to use sticky notes. That method did not work for her, so she sought other plotting ideas. She stressed that you have to do it your way. It must feel comfortable or you will not do it.
Plotting helps you know where you are going. It’s like a map. Even if you write by the seat of your pants, a plot can help fill in the gaps. With an outline you can start anywhere in your book, then go back and fill in things you have to do to get there.
The W Plot sounded the easiest to me. You start drawing a line from your inciting incident down to the first black moment, then back up to the midpoint of the story. Then you go back down to the big black moment and then rapidly up to the conclusion and wrap-up.
We worked with a few different stories using this method, choosing events to list along the sides and top of the W, creating a basic plot. You gradually can add more plot points.
If this method doesn’t work for you, Adams suggested Michael Hauge’s Six Stage Plot Structure with Five Turning Points. More details about that are available at www.StoryMastery.com.
She also discussed Kurt Vonnegut’s method, the Snowflake method and working backward. Think - If you are stuck, what has to happen before you get to the end?
I have never liked outlining, but the W plot sounds like something I can do. With the basic story pictured, I could make an outline when the W becomes cluttered with my ideas.
Jeanne Adams, front center, with Carroll County writers and guests
She stressed to use whatever method works for you. For more information, check out JeanneAdams.com or JPAGryphon@aol.com.