No Wonder People Don’t Plot

I love writing. I have to keep reminding myself of that. Sometimes, it’s a pain in the you-know-what. Some days, I don’t want to sit at my keyboard. Somedays, the words don’t flow. And before I start a new book, I always have to plot the darn thing . And right now, that’s making my brain tired.

Amazon announced a new thing they’re starting this summer–serialized novels. The idea appealed to me, because for a long time, when I used to have a weebly webpage, I posted free stories and books on it–one chapter at a time. It was always a little dicey, because every once in a while, I got behind and then had to come up with a chapter at the last minute. Probably not my best writing. But I finished novellas that way, then I took them down and polished them, and published them. That’s when I was having fun with the Babet and Prosper series under Judith Post. I posted a witch novel, foo, The Familiars, that way. I loved writing series, and those stories are what prompted me to write Muddy River. Every once in a while, I still crave a supernatural fix.

Now, when I used to read one of my supernatural fantasies to my writers’ group, I always got the same comments. “That was fun, and I’m sure someone wants to read it, but I never have. I’m not sure how to comment.” LOL. No surprise there. My group is pretty serious. Literary. Historical. Thrillers. Weighty novels. Alliteration and lyrical. Werewolves and witches? Not so much.

BUT…if Amazon is going to do serial novels, my mind immediately went to Muddy River. And…since my discipline isn’t what it should be…I have to try one. BUT, and this is the problem…l can’t make sure I have enough of a story without plot points. UGH!!! So I’ve been beating away on them for a week. A WEEK! And this is a short novel.

I admire Craig Boyack. He’s found a way to conjure story ideas with a storyboard. He’s written about it on Story Empire: Expanding on living documents | Story Empire (wordpress.com) I’ve tried it, and it works if I start WAY ahead and keep reminding myself to add to it. But unfortunately, I usually end up cussing and fretting, trying to write however points I need in a few days. Because I want to start the story, but I don’t want to go in the wrong direction. And that’s what I’ve been doing this week. A lot of fussing to come up with enough plot points to make a good story for a serial.

They trick you, you see. An idea springs into your mind and looks wonderful, like so much fun, you can’t NOT want to write it. So you start whipping out ideas for it, but the ideas begin to get harder and harder to come by, and how do you wrap them up? How do you make them build into a rhythm and crescendo at the right points and coalesce into a story? That’s when I start cussing. And finding things I have to do–like clip my toenails. Anything to avoid plot points. But if I stick with it, (and I try not to), I eventually end up with a halfway decent outline (of sorts) for a story.

Not everyone wants to bother with this. And I don’t blame them. Like I said. It’s a pain! But I need it. I’ve learned that the hard way. Some people can fly by the seats of their pants. Some people do journals. Or storyboards. Or humongous character studies. Whatever works for them. Me? I finally finished my plot points, and I’m going to go celebrate, because whenever I finish them, I feel like I’ve survived a tsunami. I’VE DONE IT! THEY’RE DONE. And life is good now. Until I have to start writing them and making them come to life. We’ll talk about that some other day…..

10 thoughts on “No Wonder People Don’t Plot

  1. Sounds like you’ve got one ready to go. My stories change from board to page, because the characters do little things that demand attention. I’m okay with that, but the turning points don’t change for me. Thanks for the Story Empire nod.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not much of a plotter, so I don’t think a serial is something I could ever tackle. I’m also not much of a serial reader but I know some writers have started to experiment with that medium. If you give it a go, I wish you all the best. I’m sure you’ll make it work!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not a plotter. I often call myself a “plantster” mostly panster but a little plotting. Serial fiction is something I wouldn’t attempt. My stories change too much while I’m writing them.

    Best of luck if you decide to go for it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, I’ll need it. I started reading your novella, House of Sorrow, and I’m enjoying it. Amazon takes down every review I put up, but I’ll review it on BookBub and Goodreads when I finish it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. One way I’m working with this is to use a different plotting model. That is, thinking of my future serial projects more akin to TV writing than basic novel writing.

    That is, you have a ‘season’ with an arc and focus around getting the timing on that right while leaving enough open for future seasons.

    Mostly though, I’ll be doing the Amazon Vella stuff because it’s otherwise the only outlet I have for stuff I want to do that won’t necessarily “pay the bills” but that I want to try out. I can squeeze out a few serial episodes a week on top of my existing work, but not so much whole other novels. :0

    Liked by 2 people

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