Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Plot Fizzles

If the plot fizzles out partway through your manuscript, what do you do? It’s a worry faced by writers since we first put stylus to wax, ink to papyrus. We do many things to try to avoid this – we plot, storyboard, brainstorm, journal and sweat! Sometimes we fly by the seat of our pants, letting the plot unfold as it sees fit, then we can add/delete/modify as needed. Some of us detail each movement of the plot, with every step carefully orchestrated.

No matter our best intentions, we can stall. Is it the plot, or has one of our characters gone off track? Do we write our way forward, or go back and check all the threads, finding the one that we lost or dropped? Do you use plotting software? Writing software? Critique partners? Writers' groups?

There are great suggestions for getting around these kinds of problems – and most writers run into them every once in a while – so dish! What is your best way to keep your plot storming along, and what do you do when it mires down, even momentarily? Makes no difference if you’re a seat-of-your-pants plotter or a plotter who lays out every twist and turn.

Libby McKinmer
Romance with an edge


Steven J. Wangsness said...

Killing off a character unexpectedly can give the plot a boost.

C. M. Albrecht said...

I usually go lie down for a while. Often during that break, I begin to hear little conversations, etc. tripping by and usually (not all the time) I'll have to get right up and head for the computer before I forget what I was thinking. (Memory span of a frozen toad).

Libby McKinmer said...

Steven -- yes, that does shake things up. A favorite period drama comes to mind!

And C.M., that's a good tip. We so often keep pushing, trying, demanding that we forget to relax and let the process come to us. Thank you.

Morgan Mandel said...

It's best to keep going and usually some kind of inspiration strikes. It might not be the best, but then it can be improved upon. Also, it gets the brain working even when you're not writing.

Morgan Mandel