Learning to Become a Plotter, Part II

Earlier this month, I wrote about my struggles with plotting out stories before starting to write. I’ve always been a semi-impulsive writer, and lately it’s come back to bite me. Although I love the spontaneity, I hit the 20k mark and either get bored of the story or create something so inconsistent that the task of revising it later is overwhelming.

I did what I said I’d do, and started over on my WIP, beginning with a full outline from scratch—essentially. I kept the basic plot and characters, but since I’d lost my original bare-bones outline, I was forced to improvise.

It took about 2 weeks to write the full outline, which was a detailed summary of each plot point (at least 100 words). There were a lot of pauses because I didn’t know where to go. I ran into the same kind of problem that I always had when winging it.

The difference is that I worked those problems out early. It may have taken a long time to write the outline, but I worked out a bunch of kinks and plot holes ahead of time. That’s not to say I won’t run into any in the draft, but I’ve already gone through the logic of many plot points and their connections. I don’t have to stop and think about whether this makes sense (a habit I’ve developed as an editor who can’t get her editor brain to turn off when she’s in writer mode). I can just write.

Or that’s the theory, anyway.

Am I going to stick to this outline? Eh. There’s no telling at this point. It depends on if I get some kind of genius idea that changes everything. I’m not counting on that. I just hope I can stick with this story until its end. It demands to be written.


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