Sunday, August 24, 2008

Why is plotting so hard?

So, I've been working on short stories for a while now. And I don't seem to have any trouble coming up with interesting characters, and even with intertwining the story lines of protagonist and antagonist. Well, that's a little tough, but still. No, I can come up with a good story, and even describe it succinctly. The trouble comes when I try to go from the high-level descriptions to a list of scenes. There's always something that doesn't work or doesn't fit. At the high-level, you can get away with a lot of assumptions that don't work when you get down to the details.

I'm forming the impression that this is a problem for a lot of writers, which would be good to know. Then I wouldn't be so depressed and could get down to the business of learning how to plot properly.

Okay, so clearly THAT'S the thing to do...learn how to plot properly. And I'm trying. Here's an article I found that is interesting, because it makes a distinction between plot and story that I think could be useful. It's specifically about screenwriting, but don't let that hold you back.


  1. Generating a list of scenes sounds very interesting. Is it anything like story-boarding a movie? Or writing a script for a comic?

  2. I suppose it's similar to both of those. I'm using a process mutated from the snowflake method. When I talk about scenes, I mean I'm trying to make a sequence of scenes and sequels that leads up to the ending. Scenes are where the main character is pursuing a goal, sequels are catching your breath between them. Choosing which things to make into scenes is hard. But my primary problem seems to be coming up with a good ending, so I'm working on that right now.