Plotting the Course–How Do I Run This Thing?

Of all my favorite books, the ones that have really struck me are ones with complex, meaningful plots. You know the ones; everything that is described, everything that happens has a wonderful and intentional purpose. Not a moment is wasted and all the complicated knots of story smooth out to become a wonderful tale with an ending you did not see coming.

This is what I aspire to.

I understand that not everything can be a Christopher Nolan movie, but I love the ending you don’t see coming, but were totally set-up for. I chalk it all up to plotting. As an aspiring novelist, I love plotting. Dreaming up where things are going, back-stories, foreshadowing, twists, pitfalls, redemption–I love it! I have a notebook that goes with me everywhere. It’s a well-loved Moleskine filled with all my ideas–the majority of which deal with plotting. So here’s the rub:

I’m afraid to plot. When I come upon a story I’m moved to write, I usually have a rough idea of how its gonna shake out in the end. I have an end-zone in mind through the entire process, but getting there, I like to leave my options wide open. I feel that if the plum-line is laid, character will fill in the rest of the structure. I don’t want to become attached to a certain chunk of plot and sacrifice my characters or their journey.

What I usually do to safeguard my character-driven novel is only plot details to a certain point. This usually means I’ll only jot down detailed ideas in my idea notebook for future chapters and then compile them as I prepare to write the chapter they were intended for. I’ll look at what works, what progresses the story as well as the characters and go with what I feel is best.

This is my process, but there is no one way to plot. I’d love for all the fiction writers out there to weigh-in! Let me know what your process is and why it works for you!

If for whatever reason your comment is not posting, please email your thoughts to me and I’ll make sure they are posted at my nearest convenience.

In other news, my instagram account has changed! It was becoming too difficult to keep up one for the blog and my own personal account so the two have been combined. Please follow to see what’s up in Bohemia!

Enjoy the journey!


2 thoughts on “Plotting the Course–How Do I Run This Thing?

  1. I cover the floor with colored pages and get some basic steps to where I’m going…I try so hard for character driven, but if I don’t know where she’s headed, I tend to actually loose my characters and miss how she thinks. I need the situation first. It wasn’t till the last few months though, that I finally admitted I’m a plot driven author…since then my writing has flourished.


    1. I think the line so many have driven between character and plot are not quite fair. You cannot have one without the other.
      I’m glad you’re finding where character and plot intersect for you, Jennifer!
      I also love the image of you literally plotting out pages across your floor. It’s a poetic notion. Thanks for weighing in!


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