Plot Plot Plot Plottidy Plot #amwriting

Now that I have my short story collection in the can, I’m turning my attention to the first of my Spadena Street mysteries, BAR SINISTER. I wrote it as a short story, then expanded it one November into 60,000 words.

plotLast year, I put each scene separately into yWriter5, which I’m now very glad I did. Thanks, past me! Yesterday, I began moving through the scenes, and guess what? The beginning is BO-ring! For some reason, I had taken out all the tense bits and made it all Cat Who.

If you read the Cat Who books, you know what I’m talking about: Yada yada yada who’s doing what in our little town and where are they living and how have they redecorated? GOD, even I, who dislike confrontation and violence, want more than that!

SO ANYWAY, I went back to an older version of the book and found some ‘citing bits and popped ’em in. This is going to be rough, but I’m looking forward to it.

We were talking about plotting and outlining at Southern Indiana Writers last meeting, and T. Lee Harris said, “I outline books like I outlined themes in school: Write ’em first, and then take the outline from that.” I was like, “Yep, yep, yep.”

But here’s the thing: The basic structure of what happens in this story is already done. But I’m a-thinkin’ that a plot design or schematic or what-have-you will really help me nip and tuck this baby into the best shape to suit me. I’ll get a feeling of what needs to be trimmed, what needs to be fattened up, what needs to be shifted elsewhere.

Whether you call that plotting, editing, or massaging, some kind of plot mannequin is going to be useful.

I think.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Does your main character plan beforehand or reconcile and justify after the fact?




I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Plot Plot Plot Plottidy Plot #amwriting

  1. Jane

    November 21, 2016 at 9:41am

    Remember you can find (somewhere in there) an automatic outline report (in yWriter).

    I really really liked being able to revise my second Callie book in yWriter. As I showed you on my ‘puter, I sort of parked it all and then started adding scenes at the top of the list, plus parking unwanted scenes at the bottom, and voila I got about four-five solid chapters and a good beginning for the rest of the book (which will probably be radically different from the old stuff left over).

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      • Jane

        November 22, 2016 at 10:01am

        I think I imported my rtf file, which already had formats from yWriter breaking down into chapters AND scenes….but I’m not sure.

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        • Jane

          November 22, 2016 at 10:04am

          yWriter does recognize the *** after every scene as a scene break. And the page breaks already at the end of chapters helps to….somehow. Er. Sorry.

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  2. A.C.Flory

    November 21, 2016 at 6:51pm

    If you can do scene headings, that can often be a quick and dirty way of getting an overview of what you have and what’s missing.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      November 22, 2016 at 8:40am

      You can do scene headings and longer descriptions, and you can print out one or both. Most useful, indeed.

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