Friday, Jan 22, 2010

Plot Problems

If you’re having trouble deciding where your plot should go next, you probably do not know your characters well enough. Plot problems are often character problems. 

To overcome this challenge, do the following:

  • Take time to get to know your characters on a very deep level. Especially observe their motivations. Motivations drive your characters and reveal who they really are.
  • Step back from your characters and let them be who they are. Too often, we try to impose ourselves upon our characters. But our characters have a life of their own. Respect that.
  • Keep asking yourself, “What would my character do in this particular situation because of who she is?” Questions such as these help propel your plot forward.

Once you know your characters well, your plot will flow.

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4 thoughts on “Plot Problems

  1. One of the things my writing partner told me about plot is this: put your main character up in a tree and throw rocks at her.

    Plot needs conflict. Tension. Action. Reaction. All these things bring out who your character is.

    Always ask, “what if?” I will do that and go as extreme as I can get. Then I pull back and go the other way. Somewhere in the middle lies my plot, although I’m learning to lean more toward the extreme side.

    January 25, 2010 at 10:22 AM