If you are seated, good! If not, take a seat. This is going to get heavy. Very heavy! As heavy as a plot can be.
Do you have a story in you that’s begging to be written down? Something perhaps that’s based on reality, or inspired by other things. Or maybe you have struck gold with one that rarely gets written. I say rarely because I am a believer that all stories have already been written, what you need to do is add a different element to jazz it up and revive that story.
You know what your biggest hurdle is? One you need to get over before you write anything? PLOT!
Or TOLP, meaning. Totally Over-thought Line of Play.
Yes, that’s right. You need to sit there and plot like you have never plotted before. And when you think you’re done, then plot some more. What you as a writer need is a thorough map of the world and of characters you have planned, from something as awkward as sneezing to as big as your character, say Clare, falling in love with a certain somebody.
How will you know otherwise what is coming next? Oh wait, did you just say its your story and you know it inside out that you don’t need a ‘map’? Well, that maybe somewhat true, but I’m sure, and I say this quite definitely, that about 80% of you largely forget to plot out the subplots.
Think of it this way- the story maybe a living thing, the heart, it’s main protagonist. Now, the heart is the muscle that keeps pumping blood to the rest and keeps it alive. Plot, darlings, are your blood vessels. Your capillaries, tinny-tiny blood vessels, your subplot(s). You need all this for your story to survive!
It’s hard enough keeping all the plot information for the main system in our brilliant mind, but we are only humans (no matter how different you may feel). We will make mistakes, miss chunks of good info, and still keep those varicose veins that are pulling the story down.
Get rid of the varicose veins! Not only are they ugly to look at, but they have no benefit to the story, but instead add discomfort to its quality of life. Believe me, I have learnt this lesson the hard way. I have spent countless hours pouring over the editors assessment notes outlining the grand nip and tuck I needed to perform. Not only did I have varicose veins, but I had completely ignored some of the capillaries that supply essence. I was giving the story pins and needles with the excess weight of useless plot. Somethings that fattened the plot and increased its chance of plummeting very fast and very hard downhill health-wise.
My mistake? I had overlooked the necessity to continue subplot along side the main plot, only mentioning when they intersected. This meant confusion arose very easily.
Save yourself the time and hassle of figuring out how to get back on the road after taking a deadly nose dive like the characters in In Strange Company
Plot your story. Plot it! This may save you countless, irreversible hours spent fixing what is akin to a case of plastic surgery gone bad. Very bad. (As bad as my attempt to draw that God-awful graph). My apologies.