Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a hard core plotter. I have outlines and spreadsheets. I cover tabletops with color-coded Post It notes with possible scenes. I have a system, and I work it religiously. Over the past decade, I’ve helped hundreds of authors get from a chaotic swirl of ideas to a coherent set of plot points. (Usually in under an hour.)
I am, quite frankly, a plotting freak of nature.
That’s not to say I think everyone should be a plotter. I recognize and respect “pantsers” — people who don’t do a lot of planning beforehand, preferring to work with exploratory drafts and feel the story out as they go. Neither method is inherently better than the other, and I am a firm believer in discovering and honoring your own process.
That also does not mean that I write “plot driven” books. As far as I’m concerned, all plot comes from character.
Let me repeat that, with emphasis.
ALL PLOT COMES FROM CHARACTER.
Without a solid understanding of your characters, and without a plot framework derived from those characters, you simply don’t have a sustainable plot. You have a bunch of events and several actors going through the motions.
What I’d like to go over today is why you might be having problems developing the plot of your novel. Here are the main issues I’ve seen my clients go through on a daily basis. [Read more…]