Amazon’s Kindle is ten years old. The Kindle’s development delivered fast, easy, and simple self-publishing. So fiction writing has become a profitable form of writing for many authors. You can write fiction and can publish it yourself, or you can write for others.
When I chat with fiction authors however, much as they love fiction, plotting is frequently a challenge.
Fiction writing when you hate to plot
Back in the day, I hated to plot too. I’d get a wonderful idea for a novel and at first the words would flow from my fingertips like magic whenever I sat down to write. Bliss. And then, sooner or later, I blocked, or realized that this junk isn’t going anywhere… what happened?
When a book hit a hit road block, my attitude was: “plot? What plot?”
I decided that I had to get over my plot-phobia. Over a few years, I discovered a plotting method which works for me, and works for my students as well.
Here’s the key. You need to start with a character.
Start with a character with a BIG problem
We’ve talked about “sagging middles”, a very common problem for authors who have challenges with plots. From Writing A Novel: Pace Yourself To Keep Readers Reading:
Where authors make a mistake however is that they try to fix the sagging middle by tinkering with the middle of the novel. They add more action, or more dead bodies (in thrillers and mysteries); in romance, they add more conflict and more love scenes.
Sagging middles and other hassles happen when an author creates a character with a problem which isn’t strong enough to support the plot.
You’ll see this frequently in novels, and you can tell what’s happened by the reader reviews:
- In romance, readers complain that the story never got going, or the characters kept going over the same obstacles;
- Mystery readers say things like: “I picked the killer right away…”
Mysteries are a real challenge for authors who dislike plotting.
Writing mysteries? Two plots, oh no…
The various mystery sub-genres mean double trouble for authors who struggle with plotting. Not only do they need to create the primary plot — the sleuth sleuthing; they need a second plot, the killer committing the crime, and what he does after the crime, as well.
Plotting your way: it’s your novel (or story)
I hate complex plotting systems; they don’t work for me.
That said, here’s the thing about plotting — there’s no single best way to do it. Whatever works, for that story.
Today’s publishing environment is wonderful for authors, but you need to publish consistently, and it also helps to write in series. That means discovering your own form of plotting, customized to your own writing methods, and the kinds of books you write.
Why write serial fiction?
Everyone's busy today. A serial is by its nature, faster to write, and publish, than a novel.
It's a quicker read too, and many readers appreciate this. While a reader may hesitate before committing hours to a novel, he can read an episode of your serial in minutes.More info →
I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.More info →
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