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I WANT to plot, though! IS THIS OPTIMAL?

Forums Fiction Plotting I WANT to plot, though! IS THIS OPTIMAL?

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  • #156929
    Natalie Cone
    @nataliecone

    I searched through this Plot forum to look for keys I may be missing in the skill of plotting, because plotting is OPTIMAL. I found a topic titled “How do I prevent outlining from becoming a creativity killer?“. I clicked on it thinking it perfectly defined my current struggle. Only to realize — I POSTED THAT TOPIC!! Over 1.5 years ago. So apparently, it’s still a struggle.

    I love planners and making lists. I plan my homeschool year/lessons/activities. But I still struggle with doing this for writing. I enjoy the process of pantsing, but I never finish the manuscript. The plotting process is enjoyable, but makes me want to beat my head against a wall with boredom as I actually draft it. I’m positive I’m undiagnosed ADHD, but whatever. Would ADHD make a difference in optimal writing method choices?

    Here’s something that happened recently:

    I got stuck at 32k on a YA novel that a writer friend had been asking me to PLEASE finish. (He’s published 20-something novels). I finally just gave up and sent him my 32k mess and plot notes. I was so proud to tell him that I’d actually plotted this one.

    Two days later, he sent me back some suggestions on plot, then sent a 12-scene outline, where he’d made a few sentences to summarize each of the 12 scenes that make up Act 1.

    Y’all, it made the story STRONGER. And BETTER. There were a few scenes that I’ll probably change, just because of style differences (he writes in the style of Dan Brown and David Baldacci, while mine is … well … not).

    Then I wilted a little. I didn’t know how to apply my self-education about strong plots as well as I thought I could. How did he plot those scenes so well? And so FAST?

    I sent him back an email to say as much.

    All he sent back was, “I think the answer to your question is ‘butt time’.” In other words, put your butt in the chair and get to work.

    He’s always told me it’s really as easy as that … Butt in chair. GET TO WORK! He said I know everything I need to know. I’m just spending way too much time NOT writing.

    I don’t have a particular question. Just looking to be in the same space as all you lovely writers (and plotters), hoping to find THE KEY I’m missing. Maybe I need to put butt in chair and GET TO WORK.

    I love you all!

    • This topic was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by Natalie Cone.


    www.nataliecone.com

    #156936
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @nataliecone

    Heya Natalie, it’s Rose again!

     I’m positive I’m undiagnosed ADHD, but whatever. Would ADHD make a difference in optimal writing method choices?

    Well, short answer, yes XD I’m neurodivergent myself, and it DEFINITELY affects the way I write and my process. On the ADHD front let me drag Cath out of the shadows… @this-is-not-an-alien you know more about this than I do, dear human tornado. Any advice?

    For me, discovering my writing process is a combination of trial and error, and stealing friends’ processes and Frankensteining them together into something functional.

    For the problem you have, in how much detail do you outline? Do you think it might help to outline very loosely? Like, just the major plot points of three-act/fifteen beat? That way you can still pants in between that, but you have a goal.

    Is boredom the main reason why you get stuck, or is it more of a not knowing where to go?

    Also, take heart, this is a continuing process of figuring out what works. I don’t think you ever reach optimal writing process, it necessarily has to shift and change with the seasons!

    Here’s a video that might help you! It’s about figuring out your writing process, and it might have some good advice.

    All he sent back was, “I think the answer to your question is ‘butt time’.” In other words, put your butt in the chair and get to work.

    He’s always told me it’s really as easy as that … Butt in chair. GET TO WORK! He said I know everything I need to know. I’m just spending way too much time NOT writing.

    Honestly, it’s very good advice. It’s the way I managed to finish my first book XD Just push through, and you will be able to manage it!

    Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

    #156939
    Natalie Cone
    @nataliecone

    ROSE!!! Hi!! Awww, sending hugs!

    Is boredom the main reason why you get stuck, or is it more of a not knowing where to go?

    Oh, whoa there, you’re untangling my brain webs a little too efficiently LOL!!

    You know, I had just assumed I was bored, but … what if you’re right? What if it’s that paralysis thingy that weird-brains do when we’re trying to brain something it doesn’t want to brain?

    I LOVE your description of Frankenwriting. It’s my favorite thing to do, but I haven’t given myself permission to Frankenwrite. I try new methods all the time, but usually try to follow it perfectly. When it’s a highly praised and perfected method like following The Hero’s Journey or Save the Cat, I seize up and end up doing badly. So I’m taking the approach to just chill out and have fun.

    One thing I really liked about what my friend did is … it’s so very, very SIMPLE. It not a complicated method, process, mindmap, or anything like that … it’s so very void of complicate.

    Last night, I cracked my knuckles and ended up revising a little of what my friend sent back to me … THEN I KEPT GOING.

    I can’t believe it, Rose, but I got 35 scenes outlined. Thirty-five. THIRTY.FIVE. And it was easy. WHAT?? Who even am I?

    So now, I must test to see what the drafting process will be like after all this planning. Can this work? I don’t know. We will see!!


    www.nataliecone.com

    #156974
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    I’m neurodivergent myself, and it DEFINITELY affects the way I write and my process. On the ADHD front let me drag Cath out of the shadows… @this-is-not-an-alien you know more about this than I do, dear human tornado. Any advice?

    *appears in an explosion of glitter* YOU HAVE SUMMONED THE MANIC GREMLIM PIXIE!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOW FOR THE REST OF THIS POST I SHALL PRETEND I ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT I’M DOING DESPITE NEVER FINISHING A SINGLE NOVEL EVER!!!! 🙂

    …You are welcome 🎉

    I love planners and making lists. I plan my homeschool year/lessons/activities. But I still struggle with doing this for writing. I enjoy the process of pantsing, but I never finish the manuscript. The plotting process is enjoyable, but makes me want to beat my head against a wall with boredom as I actually draft it. I’m positive I’m undiagnosed ADHD, but whatever. Would ADHD make a difference in optimal writing method choices?

    Kk!! So yessss, planning is awesome, planning is fun, planning is the perfect way to procrastinate writing 🙂

    BUT- planning is really good. Also! Don’t feel pressured to write in chronological order! In fact, if you find you’re lagging in an area DON’T try to write through it: Either plot, brainstorm and adapt or…skip to a new scene.

    Some ways you can plot to actually write are:

    1) If you have like glimpses of inspiration and scenes what you can do is just write them like tumblr posts. Think of it as the Moodboard for designing.

    2) RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH…In general first then for every few chapters as need arises.

    3) Always have a brainstorming doc (so you’ll actually be able to keep up with those ideas you planned out)

    4) Have a separate doc to actually organize those ideas so you can fact-check your own story super quick. Add fantasy animals/rules as you invent them. (Look buddy I’ve been procrastinating organizing that stupid worldbuilding again so I ain’t done this yet and I’m a hypocrite and you can quote me on that)

    5) Have playlists, and Pinterest boards for each character

    6) Read, watch etc (use as many different types of media as you can) anything that’s got something you want in your story, that’s got the right vibes, the right character depth, the right themes. ANALYZE ANALYZE ANALYZE. (I’ve used Arcane, Another, Narnia, Mistborn, etc etc etc) Use as much variety as you can to meet your individual story needs.

    So that’s some things that helps my ADHD brain stay on track, on my plot, the real plot, the plot chosen specially for this story, Kuzco’s plot. That plot.

    7) Write shortstories involving your characters and core scenery/themes

    8)…idk

    Some ways to stay focused when you’re writing are:

    1) sign out of everything, Pinterest, email, Instagram, signing out discourages doomscrolling and getting distracted by “just a quick check” If it’s an extra step (signing in) I usually don’t. Use executive dysfunction to your advantage to make “bad task” have “too many steps” compared to “good task” 🙂

    2) You may even turn off the internet when you start to avoid surfing the internet. But I haven’t done that in a while. I often quickly search stuff like “does this word actually mean what I think it means” and “what symbolic etymology can I use for this very specific scene that I haven’t detail-plotted” and stuff like that. This works to build momentum in writing and focus in writing IF you let it fade out and focus on the writing then. (disclaimer; you may just find that’s a “plotting that chapter” day not a “we’ll write that chapter” day)

    3) Timer: I set a 20 minute timer when I start writing because the pressure of being timed makes me focus a bit better. Also, time-blindness can tell you you’ve spent HOURS on something and NEED A BREAK when you’ve only spent a few minutes. Also, it shows you how you ACTUALLY GET INTERRUPTED LITERALLY 7 TIMES IN 5 MINUTES!!!!!!! NO WONDER I CAN’T SEEM TO FOCUS ON WRITING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (In which case you usually have to mess with your schedule a bit to find a better time OR you just have to plow through like cos that’s the only time you’ll actually be able to do it because busy schedule and brain power)

    4) Play a couple songs you associate with this scene or with similar scenes with the feel and all BEFORE you start writing. Once you start writing it’s gotta be a instrumental, a song you’ve heard a billion times, or dead silence.

    5) Think of one person you’d want to show this book to and write it for them (second or third draft the first draft is just for you and to sketch out)

    6) DONT. THINK. ABOUT. STYLE. It’s all about communicating clearly, it can sound good when you redraft it!

    Then I wilted a little. I didn’t know how to apply my self-education about strong plots as well as I thought I could. How did he plot those scenes so well? And so FAST? I sent him back an email to say as much. All he sent back was, “I think the answer to your question is ‘butt time’.” In other words, put your butt in the chair and get to work.

    Ya’know, it’s much easier to plot out somebody else’s WIP cos you don’t have as much vested interest or intense emotions and everything to it. When somebody else reads it they can make it clearer cos they see what you’ve got and what it could be, but when you plot it it’ll just take long because you’re going deeper into what you want it to be and what you want to see there.

    And different people work at different paces. Sure he might be fast but maybe your’s is more intricate or something or it doesn’t even matter really time is just a concept.

    Be Consistant instead of fast! If you spent 20 minutes a day at a select time of day every day this is a simple goal and you should count it as a success and mark it as a success to encourage you to succeed more!

     

     

    Anyway! My two cents!! And best of luck!!!

    *dramatic exist and I have no clue what I’ve just written :))))*

    To be a light to the world you must shine in the darkness.

    #156985
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @nataliecone

    You know, I had just assumed I was bored, but … what if you’re right? What if it’s that paralysis thingy that weird-brains do when we’re trying to brain something it doesn’t want to brain?

    *Nods sagely* I know exactly what you mean. For me, boredom and “I don’t know what the next step is so I can’t do it” often feel the exact same way, which is just my brain balking like a stubborn shetland pony. Cath’s tips of “make the good thing easy and the not-now things hard” is great advice. Sometimes even just… putting my phone behind me while I’m writing will make it too many steps XD So, that kinda technique is effective for me.

    Last night, I cracked my knuckles and ended up revising a little of what my friend sent back to me … THEN I KEPT GOING.

    I can’t believe it, Rose, but I got 35 scenes outlined. Thirty-five. THIRTY.FIVE. And it was easy. WHAT?? Who even am I?

    WHOOOO Good job Natalie!!! That’s amazing!!

    Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

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