I’ve started playing with plot points for my 6th romance. I say playing because I’m still in the “Will this work?” phase. And that’s exactly why I like tinkering with plot points in the first place. I’m up to thirteen of them, and the whole damn story is sagging. I mean, there are plenty of things going on, and they feel pretty interesting, but are they bringing the protagonist and her romantic interest together? Not unless Karli would marry the one and only man who’s ever shown any interest her. The chemistry, so far, is zippo. And the main reason? Keagan is about as exciting, so far, as white bread. I’ve done a crappy job of bringing him to life.
The nice thing about doing plot points, for me, is that they show me what DOESN’T work, where the holes are, where the story peters out. I started with an idea that really excited me. I had characters who caught my attention and didn’t let go. I still like the premise and both characters, but are they dancing to life on the page? Not so much. And they started out great…for about four or five chapters. And then? There wasn’t enough tension between them to keep me from yawning. But the good news is, my plot points made that obvious. I can fix it in the planning stage instead of the rewrite and weep stage when I’m sick and tired of the whole thing and want it done.
Once I hit chapter twelve, I could see I needed to up the conflict, too. An easy fix. I added another character who, hopefully, readers will love to hate. I’ve just met him, and I’d already like to smack him with a two-by-four, which makes him perfect:) I could also see that I needed to add more of a feel for Mill Pond into the mix. Another easy fix. After all, the residents of the little resort town love interfering in other peoples’ lives. Oops, I mean they love to help and lend a hand. Anyway, I’m up to plot point thirteen, and I’m so happy I bothered with them, because they’re going to save me a lot of work once I start putting words on the page.
I know plot points aren’t for everyone, but I blog about what I’m up to at the moment. And on this particular day, I’m singing the praises of planning my books out. You have to find what works for you, but a few sign posts here and there can come in handy. Whatever you come up with, have fun and happy writing!
5 thoughts on “Fiddles!”
I would love to see what you mean by “plot points” Judy. Care to share an example of what it looks like? Pretty please?
I’m not sure this will mean anything to anyone but me–they’re just to keep me on track–but here are the first 5 for Book #6.
LOVE THY NEIGHBOR (working title)
1. Karli only has bad memories of Mill Pond, but goes there to deal with her grandfather, Axel, who shouldn’t be living alone in his house anymore. He’s a mean, hateful, old man whom no one likes, but Keagan Monroe—his mailman—delivers food to him once a week and called Karli’s mom about his health. Keagan meets Karli at Axel’s. The house and property (100 acres, worth about $500,000) are in ruins. Axel’s bound to bed or wheelchair. Keagan’s parents own the farm next to Axel’s—700 acres now. They kept buying nearby property when went up for sale. His older sister and her husband help his dad farm them. Axel tells her to go home and leave him alone. She’s staying.
2. Karli pays for room at local motel for night. House too disgusting to stay in. Tries to find some place to stay for rest of visit, but everything’s full. Decides will have to clean a room in house and stay there. When drives to motel, realizes what a cute, little town Mill Pond is. Has never visited shops. Mom dreaded coming home so much, they just drove to Axel’s, visited with her youngest brother (12 kids in family), and left. When brother graduated and got out of town, never visited again. Calls her mom & tells her about Axel.
3. Keagan goes to parents’ property early in morning to work in studio before has to deliver mail. He has a studio there where he makes dinnerware of all kinds and glazes them with different patterns and colors, according to individual requests. His mom tells him to stop to grab a casserole she’s made to take to Karli and Axel when he delivers their mail. He does, and Karli’s just getting to Axel’s when he stops there. He helps her carry in groceries and cleaning supplies and gives her food. Feels sorry for her, having to stay in a shambles with a man mean as spit. Doesn’t think she has a prayer of convincing Axel to go to nursing center.
4. Karli dishes up casserole for Axel and sits down to talk to him while he eats. Tells him it’s not safe for him to live alone anymore. Keagan’s found his stove on three times in the last month. Axel tells her to go home and mind her own business. It’s his house, his life, and he’ll do what he wants. She tells him if he doesn’t come up with something, she’ll report him to health services, and they’ll make his decisions for him. He throws empty plate at her, but she’s a traveling nurse. Has dealt with plenty of uncooperative patients. Unfazed. Spends the rest of the day cleaning the “parlor”—it only has a desk in it now, and puts queen-sized air mattress in it to sleep on. Her room. Clean but dingy. Cleans kitchen, too. A project, but won’t cook on a grease-covered stove.
5. Keagan delivers mail and drops off a big foil tray of fried chicken and fried potatoes from Ralph at Ralph’s diner. Everyone’s heard she’s come to town and feel sorry for her. He brings a set of four, beautiful plates and coffee cups that he made for a display at Ian’s resort for spring. Made a new display for winter. (describe) He looks at sagging front porch and says, “You know, this is downright sad. It wouldn’t take much to fix it.” He, Nick, Tyne, and Harley are coming on Saturday to tear it down and build a new one. Karli blinks. “Why would you do that?” Keagan looks at her. “Why wouldn’t we?”
I’m not sure this is any help, but it plants clues I want for future chapters and serves as base for my chapters.
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Are you kidding?!! What a great glimpse into your plotter mind! I think that always put me off about plotting was the idea of generating a numbered outline. That’s just not how my brain works!
But this is EXACTLY how my brain works. What a relief to see that I’m already doing this. Thanks for sharing, Judy! I appreciate it!
And another quick question? Do these point translate directly into chapters? Just curious
Yup, each point becomes a chapter. And glad you’re already doing this! See? You’re a pro, you just didn’t know it:)