Ahh, Plotting

One of the rules of NaNo is you cannot start writing the actual story until November 1st. I wrote eight or so pages last spring, and while I plan to use them, I’m no longer going to start the story in the same place so it’ll just be filler. I figure I’m going to need an extra 1000 words to pad here or there.

What you CAN do prior to November 1st is plot, outline, research, meet your characters, and whatever else you need to do to get ready to write the story. I also did a lot of research last spring so while I’m looking over those notes, my biggest task this week is outlining my plot.

I know how the story begins, I have a kick@ss ending (which can be turned into a series, but I’m not getting ahead of myself here) but the middle is a bit of a mystery to me. I have sticky notes all over my desk that say things like “betrayal” and “love interest” — things I need to weave in to keep the reader hooked.

Only a few days left to figure it out. Because I CAN’T start without knowing where I’m going!

Writers, how do you plot? I know quite a few of you are pantsers, so you’re excused from sharing your secrets. But you can still share a story if you’d like.

About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.


  1. “Plotting is in the air, everywhere I look around…” *laughs*

    You sound like you have a head full of ideas and just need to organize them. That’s good. Way better than the other way around. 😉

    Personally, my outlines start with one page filled with ideas. It’s a complete chaos but at least it gets things out of my head. Then I go through it again and start sorting things out on sticky notes to create my chapters and stick them on the wall. I take a step back, look at the whole thing, tweak a detail here and there, and voilà! Outline!

    Have fun figuring yours out!

    • Oh, that just sounds scary to me. I am a completely linear person and there is NO jumping around. I’ve had this conversation with other people — things just don’t come to me in pieces. I ‘know’ my entire story already, I just like to have a guide in front of me.

  2. I usually start with the idea for a scene, so I write that down first, then open a new file which I title, “Stream of Consciousness.” In that, I write whatever pops into my head, using questions to dig further into certain points.

    Once I have a rough idea of what the hell is going on, I start another file titled, “Plan,” the bullet point what I want to happen (usually 1 short sentence per scene).

    Then I start writing and end up going in a completely different direction. *Headdesk*


    PS – Have fun!!!

  3. The more scared or uncertain I am of a story, the more I plot. The more I plot, the worse it goes. Apparently that doesn’t keep me from being sucked in again. 🙂

    Usually I’m a pantser, though.

    • Travis, for me it’s everyone else that keeps me motivated. Once I set a goal for myself it’s hard for me to break it, so even though I realize I may not reach 50k in 30 days, I WILL make a dent on this book.

  4. This is my first year (eek!) and I am going to try using Randy Ingermanson’s snowflake method at the beginning. The very first thing he suggests is writing up a book summary (15 words or less) and he helps you build on it from there. It took me forEVer to come up with that, so I’m not feeling too confident about the rest of the month! LOL Just kidding. Sort of.

  5. Allen

    I’ve stopped Nanoing. It is just too embarrassing. The stench from the story on my laptop is so horrible that the cats and dogs won’t go in the room. Even the skunk next door sent a note asking me to keep the story at my office as it was interfering with his amorous moves on the young, nubile skunk across the way. But when the smoke alarms started spontaneously sounding from the smell, I had to quit.

    But y’all have fun.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *