What Is Your Method Of Plotting?


This is the first article in a rolling blog tour of Mystery Blog Tours Ink.

Today’s subject: What Is Your Method Of Plotting?

I wish I knew! I’m struggling to plot my second novel in a series. I’ve read The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler, The Marshall Plan and The Snowflake Method and tried to use them. I do pretty well until I get to about page 100. Then I’m kinda lost.

This is when I get out a handful of 3X5 cards and start trying to fill in the blanks. If Trey has to do XX by the end of the book, what has to happen to get him there? I do this for each character, and then see if I can get the characters working against each other. Sometimes it works. Sometimes I’m pulling my hair out.

I tend to come up with a title first: Ultimate Justice. What does that mean to me? What is the Ultimate Justice? And what kind of characters would people a story like that? The  beginning and the end quickly follows. but the road in between is a rough one.

I’ve been a pantser for ten years, learning to create that skeleton of a plot a little more with each book I write. I’ve written thousands of words that ended up trashed because they didn’t fit into the story–or rather, they didn’t lead to the ending.

So now as I’m writing book two, I know the beginning and the end, and the characters. I’m working hard at filling in that middle with valuable scenes. I keep looking at the Hero’s Journey, trying to use that model to fill in the blanks.

I intend to read all the blogs in this roll and see what others are doing that might help me be a little more successful at plotting. Being a pantser is fun, but not so conducive to cranking out a first draft. The good news is, my less than perfect method, if it can be called that, got me through book one, and according to reviews, it’s doing well. I just hope that I can develop a better, stronger, faster method. A sort of six-million-dollar-woman method. Yeah, I like the sound of that.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you will take the time to visit the next
blog on the rolling blog tour: http://www.JohnHines.com

Below is a list of the participants in today’s roll. We’d love it if you could
stop by each of them and learn more about Plotting Methods. Another roll is scheduled for Wednesday, and with any luck we will just keep on rolling!

  1. Ryder Islington– http://www.RyderIslington.wordpress.com
  2. John Hines– http://www.JohnHines.com
  3. Nancy Lauzon– http://www.ChickDickMysteries.com
  4. Kathleen Kaska–www.KathleenKaska.com
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10 comments on “What Is Your Method Of Plotting?

  1. […] article is #2 in a rolling blog tour. For the previous entry, please see Ryder Islington’s post on plotting. The details on all the participants are at the bottom of this […]

  2. totsymae1011 says:

    Plotting is a challenge for me too. Sometimes, I think I make it more complicated by adding too much drama. The thing is to keep the reader intrigued, so maybe I should read more mystery/suspense novels to learn how those writers are so effective.

  3. mollie bryan says:

    You use note cards? I am so impressed. I need to check out those books of yours!

  4. Keep those words you don’t use. They will come in handy one day. Book Two! You’re way ahead of many writers who give up after 100 pages. Great job!

  5. KT Wagner says:

    I enjoy reading and learning about different plotting methods. Larry Brooks method, in particular, resonates http://www.storyfix.com. As does, Alexandra Sokoloff’s http://thedarksalon.blogspot.com/ However, I don’t do much advance plotting, other than creating a beginning/ending and a (very) rough outline. I occasionally stop and run the elements through my head, check my plotting reference guides and rejig as necessary. I think most “pantster” writers naturally follow a plotting structure.

  6. […] on the topic of Writer’s Block.  For the previous tour, please see Ryder Islington’s post on plotting. The details on all the participants in today’s tour are at the bottom of this post, as well […]

  7. […] blog tour on the topic of Writer’s Block.  For the previous tour, please see Ryder Islington’s post on plotting. The details on all the participants in today’s tour are at the bottom of this post, as well as a […]

  8. Augie says:

    I use ‘Mind Mapping’ its a great way to plot, add characters, voice etc, while looking down instead of looking ahead (i.e. looking at a computer or typewriter ). Looking down helps keep one focus instead of wandering.

  9. Bill Schweigart says:

    I’m the opposite – my work can be too plot heavy. I need to let the characters breathe. Even so, I’m working on a plotting a mystery and that’s a different beast entirely. I generally keep a pretty robust outline, I’m inhaling great gulps of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett and hope something shapes loose, and I recently purchased Final Draft (which I’m told has a novel function). We’ll see….

  10. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you may be a great author.

    I will be sure to bookmark your blog and definitely
    will come back in the foreseeable future. I want to encourage that you continue your
    great writing, have a nice day!

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