Why is plotting this story so hard? I asked myself this question for days.
In the past month, I began writing a new story idea. Initially, I was off to a great start: 20k words in about a week. Woo hoo. But then it just came to a screeching stop. Because I realized I needed to come up with a plot.
Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just start writing this story without some sort of direction. I had a plot. I just realized that I needed a better one. What I had come up with, I decided, was not as interesting or complete as it needed to be. So I started thinking of new plot ideas.
And that’s where the frustration started. Why is this so difficult? Why can’t I think of anything good? Where ya at, good ideas? These were the thoughts repeating in my head. And I went on like this for at least two weeks. In this time, I didn’t really write much on my story. What was the point, if I was about to change it? I just spent that time thinking, and reading, and trying to distract myself from the fact that I couldn’t come up with a good plot idea.
But over this past week, I think I’ve finally started to come up with something good. And I’m finally able to answer the question that has been repeating in my brain.
Why is plotting so hard? Because it’s supposed to be.
I mean, think about it. Plotting is the time where you literally plan out your whole story. And if you want to do it well, you have to examine possible gaps and work through solutions that make sense. You’re organizing an entire story. That’s supposed to be difficult.
The story I’m writing is a mystery/thriller, so that means I first have to come up with the actual mystery to be solved. And then I need to know what the solution is – way before my characters do. And then I need to figure out who is solving the mystery and why. And how they are going to solve the mystery. And then while they’re solving the mystery, I have to figure out what the character discover and when.
What do they know in the beginning? How did they find out about the mystery? Exactly when do they find clue 1, 2, and 3? They can’t find them all at the same time. And then exactly when do they put the clues together and solve the mystery? And what about twists in the story that distract or confuse the characters? There should be twists. And the… See where I’m going here?
That’s a lot to figure out. That’s a lot to plan. But it’s completely necessary. And if it were too easy to come up with, then the story wouldn’t be interesting. If I could think of it in five minutes, then a reader would solve it in the first few chapters.
So that’s why plotting is hard. It has to be. It might be easy to come up with that initial idea, sometimes it is. But to then develop all the branches off of the idea, that takes time.
So if you’re like me and working to come up with a developed plot, keep going! You can do it! And it’s worth the time you spend.
Plotting has also made me really want a giant chalkboard/whiteboard to map out all of my ideas.