Ah, plotting. The bane of my existence.


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Plotting is probably my least favorite part of writing, which makes no sense since it’s one of the biggest elements that can make or break your story.

Let me be clear: it’s not that I hate coming up with story ideas. I’m always coming up with new ideas for novels and eagerly jotting them down.

It’s just that when I get to the part where I have to flesh out my plot, my enthusiasm wanes.

While in real life I’m the kind of person who likes to know exactly what’s going to happen all of the time, I do not work this way when it comes to my novels. Yes, I know when the big events are going to occur, but I like to give myself some leeway to add a few surprises and shocks that I didn’t know were coming.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t always work in my favor.

If I plot too many specifics, I lose interest in my novel.

If I don’t plot enough specifics, I lose control of my novel, become frustrated, and stop writing.

It’s a lose-lose situation.

But, somehow along the way, I’ve managed to find a good in-between.

I make a list of all the important events that need to happen, along with a timeline. Then, while I’m writing, if I think of something I should add or something that should be coming up, I put it on the timeline. This way I’m plotting, but not every single scene is planned.

This gives me the freedom to be more creative.

Plotting is a tricky thing, and every novelist feels differently about it.

How do you plot?