September 8, 2018 at 1:38 pm #46899
It’s terribly tragic, and I’m not sure what to do. I finished writing one novel, so I started to work on coming up with a new idea only to find that I have nothing. I’ve been able to write a few short stories, come up with settings and characters, but I can’t come up with a plot to put any of it into.
How do you come up with plots that span an entire book? And how can I resurrect my muse? Any help would be much appreciated!September 8, 2018 at 4:51 pm #46925Taylor Clogston@taylorclogston
Ugh, I wish this subforum was more active.
I know the feeling, and I share the wish I knew how to plot a whole book or more. When I feel burnt out, though, consuming other media different to whatever burnt me out seems to help. Sometimes I just need to start reading a new book in an unfamiliar genre or watch a movie or listen to a few episodes of a non-writing-related podcast. Sometimes even beta reading and then discussing changes with someone else sparks something bright again in me!
"...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and MargaritaSeptember 8, 2018 at 4:54 pm #46926Parker Hankins@parker
@aster, what genre is it and maybe I can be of some help. It’s really cool you finished a novel!
Living in a world of mystery and dangerous predicaments while working with the AWESOME Meraki's.September 8, 2018 at 11:48 pm #46959September 9, 2018 at 2:05 pm #46979Parker Hankins@parker
Okay, @aster! So, I’m not too familiar with those genre’s plots, but I think plot twists would help. Make it seem like the story is finished, then suddenly it’s not and there is more that happens. example: If there’s a villain, he seems like he was beaten, then suddenly he wasn’t and is ready to beat the MC with more power than ever.
Living in a world of mystery and dangerous predicaments while working with the AWESOME Meraki's.September 9, 2018 at 3:55 pm #46984Jillian Fisher (jillifish)@jillifish
How recently did you finish your novel? Was it also high fantasy or dystopian or another similarly complex plot style?
Sometimes a rest between projects is needed. And the more complex the project you just finished, or the more stressful the pressure you worked under, the more likely your brain just needs some time to recuperate. Maybe take a few days off from writing. Get outside, walk and stretch and be active; pray; learn something new. Do some chores you have been putting off for a while. Limit your break to a few days or a week or so, just make sure you have a definite time to return to writing. But try to avoid writing, thinking about writing and even reading, if doing so will get you thinking about writing.
Not only does this give you time to recover from the mental work of writing, but it allows you to refill your inkpot of ideas and inspiration. Experiences lead to ideas, so any time you find yourself short of ideas – go refill the pot. Or the well, but those are a bit awkward to carry around and rather bulky for storing on or near a desk.
At the end of your writing vacation, it may help to start with lighter plots and with exercises. Ease back in, maybe read a new book in your genre or re-read one that inspired your own writing the most. Read/ re-read a book about plotting and do the exercises. Allow yourself time to brainstorm. Then, just write. Even if you can’t plot a novel, write a short story. Spend the time doing any writing (not just waiting to write or thinking about writing, but actual writing), and your brain will eventually get the idea and click back into gear.
I hope that helps! I’ve also struggled with that, and still am, actually. But all the above has helped me, when I actually do it. Not writing, unfortunately, can be much easier than cleaning off the dust and cobwebs and actually writing. But that desire to write doesn’t lessen any, and I just get more frustrated with myself for not doing the hard work needed to fully return to pursuing my writing dreams. Currently I am (procrastinating about) reading Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell, which was recommended on the Writing Rank improvement guide. Have you read that yet? I also liked the book Where Do You Get Your Ideas? by Fred White.September 12, 2018 at 9:43 pm #47492September 13, 2018 at 12:12 pm #47521NCStokes@ncstokes
@aster Yeah, plotting… *nervous laugh* *tries to sink into the floor without being noticed* Plotting isn’t my strong suit. But, as I wrestled with the lack of plot in almost all my stories, I noticed a few habits of mine that were slowing me down. First, I would get a new plot bunny and immediately file it away as “some other story I’ll write later.” But if you really think the idea is interesting, it can serve as inspiration for your current story. For example, I wanted to experiment with a character that seems weak at first and is revealed to be strong in a way no one else is, but there wasn’t enough to make it its own story, so I added it to my WIP, and I’m quite pleased with the results. Also, letting one character drive all the action is a problem. A side character can do something unexpected and throw your plot in a new direction just as easily as the main character. *glares at a certain disobedient side character who shall remain unnamed* *his name is William in case anyone’s interested* Thirdly, being too nice to your characters is going to kill the tension. (yes, I did just give you a reason to be evilish to your characters. I’m nice like that. 😉 ) I like to ask myself: What could go wrong? What aren’t my characters expecting? And then doing that very thing. *maniacal cackling*
I hope that’s a little helpful. Good luck reviving your plotting muse!
*shameless self promotion* https://weridasusual.home.blog/September 14, 2018 at 4:24 pm #47715
@ncstokes thanks for the advice! Characters can be very useful for plotting… I will have to do some more character development I think…September 18, 2018 at 11:43 am #48037
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