Monday, January 17, 2011

Plotting: Hopefully not a Cemetery Plot for my Novel

My goal last week was to get my NaNo project in better shape. Fortunately, I am nothing if not adept at rearranging my goals.  As you may know, my dad had open heart surgery last week (he's doing really well, should be going home this week.  Thanks for all the good wishes).  I figured since I would be sitting around watching him sleep for a few days, that I would have plenty of time to focus on writing.  Yeah. Not so much.  I spent more time jumping up to hold Dad's heart pillow over his chest, so he could try to cough, than I anticipated.  Which is fine.  My parents spent plenty of time taking care of me, I'm glad to return the favor. 

When I did have time to open my NaNo folder and start trying to assemble scenes into some sort of sensible order, I got depressed because my plot is full of holes. Actually, it's more like shredded mozzarella than Swiss cheese.  It needs triage, badly.  So, as with every other issue I've had as an adult, I consulted the modern Ouji Board, Google. 

I found Plot Diagrams, which I actually remember from high school English:

I found lots and lots of websites with suggestions on plotting: 
Patricia Sargeant's version of Jennifer Crusie's method

Freemind is an interesting program, and a free download.

suite 101 has suggestions.

I could go on and on and on, and there are alot of great suggestions out there.  Unfortunately, I don't think there is any surefire method that doesn't include BICHOK (Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard).  And finding those holes, plugging them, then going back and filling in the next one that crops up.  And then melting the shredded parts together. 

Remind me again why I wanted to be a writer? 


  1. Let me know when you find out the answer! :)

  2. Hi Teri.

    My father had heart surgery last year, so I know exactly how you feel. I stayed with my mum when he was in hospital and thought the change of scene would allow me to switch-off a little, which of course it didn't.

    I'm not really a plotter but during nano I forced myself to do it. I bought a roll of brown paper and redecorated the bedroom with it and post-it notes. Though it did seem rather alien to me, it did help to visually see all the chapters/scenes, story arc etc. Maybe you could give it a try?

  3. You want to be a writer because otherwise all your creative fabulosity would build up inside you, and explode into something like knitting sweaters for homeless hairless cats. Nobody wants to see that happen to you. Well, except maybe the cats.

  4. Terri, I have two lots of news for you, good and bad. The good news is, if you perservere you will find it. The bad news is, I've learned that the only way to do it is do what you're doing. Plow ahead. Write. Write some more. Your own personal "method" will show up after lots of hours (lots and lots and lots of hours).

    Keep at it lady, and if you need a critique, even of a few paragraphs, let me know.

  5. I hear ya, sister! Keep plugging away. You can do it. I was just reminding myself this morning that the things that are worth doing seldom come easy.

  6. Thanks, everyone, for the encouragement!
    Summer: when I figure it out, I'll sell you the answer (muahhahahaha)
    Ellie: I actually have a bunch of post-it in various colors, I may get them back out
    Linda: Yeah. I already did the knitting thing, that's why I started writing.
    Jessica: be careful what you volunteer for, you might get it.
    Mary: Worked on it again last night (got the "W" stuff back out) and made a tiny bit of progress. Will keep plugging.

  7. modern ouija board = google = COMEDY GOLD!
    that is all.