I’ve discovered a super duper book that’s helping me outline better to avoid plot holes. It’s called: “First Draft in 30 Days” by Karen S. Wiesner. Despite the misleading title, you won’t actually have a typical draft written in 30 days, but you will have a properly formatted outline that’ll help you on your journey to completing the first draft. You really have to take a peek at the book to get a good idea of what’s inside it, but I’ll show you a little.
There are three things you need to write out when plotting your beginning:
1. Conflict is introduced
2. Story goal is introduced
3. Characters are outfitted for their tasks
The middle is where a lot of stories sag because the author doesn’t take certain elements into consideration. Here’s the plan Karen suggests following when plotting your middle:
1. Characters design short-term goals to reach the story goal
2. Quest to reach the story goal begins
3. First short-term goals are thwarted
4. Characters react with disappointment
5. Stakes of the conflict are raised
6. Characters react to conflict
7. Characters revise old or design new short-term goals
8. Quest to reach the story goal is continued
9. Short-term goals are thwarted again
10. Characters react with disappointment
The list goes on, but I don’t want to spoil it all for you. If you’re a plotter, I believe you’ll really enjoy this book. If you’re a pantser, but have been having problems with your plot, maybe you should try this. When I first started writing, I thought I was a pantser, but once I tried plotting out a story, I was hooked. I loved knowing how things were going to come about without waiting forever to get there in the story. Does that make me impatient? However, I’ve always believed nothing is written in stone. If, while writing the draft, a better scene comes along, I have no problem making the changes. Besides, with an outline, my synopsis is practically written already.
Do you have any books to suggest? Have you tried both plotting and writing by the seat of your pants to see what really works for you? Or have you just assumed the one you’re doing is a natural fit? Are you a plotter or a pantser?