Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What's Your Problem?

At our October writer's meeting, we were plotting. Fill in the blanks as to what we were plotting, if you weren't there. Were we plotting how to toilet paper the members homes who didn't come? Hmmm. Time will tell!

Actually, we had a most amazing turnout last week! The room was packed! And no, we weren't plotting mischievous schemes. We were talking about plot creation, and brainstorming ideas on how to overcome obstacles when writing.

We all know there is a difference between a real plot and a series of events happening to your character, but it can often be difficult during the writing process to put everything together the right way.

Perhaps you start out with a great beginning, but struggle with the middle and the ending. Or things just don't feel like they mesh together well. How do the little details fit into the story? Sometimes our characters almost conflict with our desired plot. Or the dreaded, gulp, don't say it.....writer's block.

So what do you do? BRAINSTORM! And lots of it.

It's been said that the power of the brainstorm is underrated. I agree. Racking your brain can have all sorts of fantastic results, once you get through the hard work. As a writing group, we had our own version of a group brainstorm, on how to hone in on the plot development process. Each member of the group shared their techniques that help them the most.

Welcome to the blitzkrieg portion of this post! Read on to see what we came up with!

*Make comments in your manuscript as you go, and return for edits later. Don't stop writing when you've got a good flow.
*Interview your characters! Make it in depth, and you'll be surprised at what you discover.
*If you use plot outlines, make sure they are flexible.
*Remember what the problem is in your story. Ask why, what if questions.
*Talk it over with someone. Or for some, talking out loud to themselves works. Our fellow writers are great tools for having useful discussions about our work. (Please note, there was no comma or period after "writers are great tools, so they'll be no jokes about that.) ;)
*Debate it with someone. You don't need someone to always just tell you it's great. A devil's advocate is often the most helpful.
*Flip a coin when making a choice between two routes. If you are secretly hoping it lands on tails, then you get heads and feel bummed, then now you know to go with the tails option.
*Read something, or watch a movie that evokes the same type of emotion you are hoping to create in your writing.
*Get a change of scenery, take a walk, or trip.
*Listen to music! Choose music that inspires you, and has the same mood as the scenes you wish to write.
*Let it simmer. Or for some of us, let it"ferment."
*Talk to yourself in the mirror, or talk to the computer.
*Don't push it, take your time.
*Do some writing exercises. Pay attention to your dreams.

Jennie Bennett also shared a few websites for plot help. Thank you Jennie!

Main Character Survey
Ten Scene Plotting Tool
The Eight Sequence Plotting Tool

If you have other ideas that get you out of your writing jams, leave a comment, we'd love to hear it!

Next Month: November 17th is our Chapter Party!!! Hope to see you all there! Details to be coming soon!



  1. It was my pleasure, that was a great meeting!

  2. This is such a great source of information! Excellent post and excellent meeting.

  3. And thank you to Krista for taking great notes for me!!

  4. And once again this blog and it's wisdom rocks. So glad to be a part of the chapter. Yay us writing tools. :)