Plotting is Such Sweet Sorrow

I’m a seat of the pants writer. I sit and write. I don’t write outlines or a synopsis before I begin. I do think about my characters, develop their backgrounds and know what makes them tick. I have an idea for a storyline. I write down things that come to mind in a notebook, free style as I think about how the story will develop. I never know the ending…okay, I have a vague idea of how it will end, but I don’t have the big climactic whamo that will keep readers from getting a good night’s sleep because they have to read on to find out what happens next.

Because I’m a seat of the pants writer, due to the way my brain works, trying to outline is pure torture! I wish I could be like the writers who know the entire story before they begin to write. It would make writing so much easier–at least the first draft.

The problem I suffer is that by 1/3 into the book I’m stuck to find out what happens next. I need that complete story structure. I struggle and muddle through, each word a painstaking effort, and all the while thinking what I’m writing is pure garbage. My inner editor is a voice loud in my head that won’t be silenced.

I’m good at developing characters. I love writing interactions and dialogue. But plotting is something that comes hard for me. I need good plots to make the book interesting, so what to do? I know there are no magic answers. I know writing isn’t easy. God speaks and says “I didn’t promise it would be easy, but this is what I want you to do.” I can’t argue with that.

So this month I’ve had the blessing of being involved in an online class taught by Randy Ingermanson known as “the Snowflake Guy” for his unique method in designing novels. I purchased his software about six months ago, but I just couldn’t figure out how it could help me with my problem. I had to plot and I’m not good at it! However, this online class is teaching me a better way to get a grip on the entire story before I begin to write. So far, so good. It’s not easy…in fact, for me it’s very hard. But I’m learning so much and I’m getting excited to think I might actually be able to plot this book through and make it much stronger than I had first envisioned.

I might even open the software again…

Ah, plotting is such sweet sorrow…


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