Once upon a time, I thought I knew enough about storytelling to drive a novel toward the Happily Ever After by writing from the seat of my pants, figuring things would unfold organically…eventually…
Instead of reaching the HEA, a few other things often happened. The story’d hit a wall. Or I’d lose sight of the ending. Or get bored. Or a “better” idea would crop up. I’d drop this story for that story and never finish any story. I wish I’d learned to be a better plotter sooner because I could’ve saved myself a lot of trouble and spared dumping years’ worth of unfinished projects.
A plot is like giving your characters a map to keep them on course,
Otherwise they may wind up lost,
Or worse, in a ditch.
Just like I need a GPS to get anywhere outside a ten-mile radius of my neighborhood, I need an outline to get my Contemporary Romance story from the Meet-Cute to the Resolution. These are a few of my favorite things to help me plot:
- Anatomy of Story by John Truby
- Iconoclastic Writer’s Tools and Tips for Writers
- Traditional Plot Development Storyboard by Carolyn E. Cooper
- Andy Rutter’s 3 Act Timeline Structure (Personally, I like to cut Act II into 3 pieces and made a 5 act story)
Still not sure about plotting? Here’s a video to help explain: