Monday, January 4, 2010

My Kingdom for a Good Plot!

Maybe the holidays did it—too much indulgence in rich foods I don’t generally eat. Perhaps I’ve hit the bottom of the barrel that contained all my plot ideas. Probably, I’ve read too many good novels recently, causing me to feel completely and utterly inadequate.

I’m a failure. Or not!

When I begin to doubt every word I write, I place myself in a time-out. There’s no use banging my head against the wall or slamming the lid down on my innocent laptop. So, I pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again.

One exercise I perform sounds very easy, but if a writer is truly in the doldrums, it can present problems. You won’t know until you try. It’s called “writing bursts.” Sit down with a blank sheet of paper in front of you. For me, that would be my Toshiba laptop. For others, that might mean a pen and notebook. Think of a topic or ask someone near you—“name any topic that comes into your head.” Then, begin to write without thinking—assuming you know a little something about the topic—and continue for ten minutes. Do not stop to edit for anything—don’t worry about spelling, style, or grammar. Now. See? Isn’t that easy.
It warms up your brain.

Next, describe your plot in one three-part sentence—a story in a nutshell. Try it first using one of your published novels. Next, try it using one of your WIPs. Note: you may not use, “Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and then boy gets girl.” Now, you have an outline made of three sections—the beginning, the middle, the ending.
This makes your plot resemble a three-act play, a tried and true method.

Concentrate solely on your protagonist—male or female. What does this character want more than anything? Answer this question in detail, and voila!
You have a plot based solely on his/her desire.

Now, if only I can make this work for myself.

Celia Yeary

TEXAS BLUE-a Texas Historical-eBook and Print-
January 29-

ALL MY HOPES AND DREAMS-a Texas Historical

Print and eBook: The Wild Rose Press


  1. Haven't got a good plot for you, but good luck finding one! May the Muse be kind to all of us in 2010!

  2. Hi Celia,
    I too am having problems in the writing area right now(except mine are the middle of the story slump LOL). I think my MUSE went on an extended Christmas holiday and forgot to come back.
    But these are good tips for trying to jump-start the flow. I've also been concentrating on other things for a bit. Sometimes I find inspiration in the oddest places when I'm doing something totally unrelated to writing. Anyway, I know you will come up with a great plot, you always do. Best wishes,

  3. Celia, my best ideas come while I'm in the tub, soaking in lavender scented bubbles and far from pen, paper or a computer.

    Try not to push too hard. A good story, like love, comes when you're not looking for it.

  4. Celia-- Follow your own advice. Start writing. It'll come. Or something else will come.

  5. Great writing exercise, Celia!!! I'll use it on my next WIP!!!

    Good luck finding your plot!!!

    AM :)