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When you can't plot past the beginning of your story (1 Viewer)

sunaynaprasad

WF Veterans
I am outlining the chapter-by-chapter summaries for my current WIP. While I was able to get the beginning chapters down with no problem, I am now having trouble coming up with summaries for the later chapters, after the first 6.
I've tried different versions, but they all bored me. I do have a goal for my MC, but I feel like I am using too much believability, where too many obstacles are put in the way.
The plot is where a yeti is looking for my MC, who is 15, and only she can capture him and return him to the prison in which he escaped from. However, when the yeti is in my MC's town, the county is on lockdown. In order for my MC to succeed at getting him back to the prison he'd left and breaking the spells the guards have gone under, she has to prove herself trustworthy.
I know I can make her do the wrong things, but even those are hard to brainstorm.
I also don't have an idea for an ending to my story. Originally, it was going to end with my MC's close friend's birthday party. But that was getting in the way of giving my MC a goal, which is now to find an autographed poster that the yeti has stolen for his goal, which is to build a robotic yeti since the rest of the yeti population has been wiped out and magic can't create living things out of thin air.
I've given myself breaks from the outline for at least a few days. But even then, I couldn't come up with exciting chapter summaries.
I could read for inspiration, or even watch movies for it. The idea of the yeti was inspired by a dream I had and recalling a movie about a yeti called "The Missing Link."
Do you think I should take a break from plotting and read or watch something to help me get inspired? I've been working on this WIP since March.
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
A few things I imagine might be helpful:

1. Look at the story from each person’s point of view. What are the most powerful motivations in this story? The most powerful motivation here is the interesting one. Your MC in this story is just the vehicle for either letting the powerful motivation (the plot) happen or for stopping it. In other words, why shouldn’t the Yeti build himself/herself a mate? It’s the the Frankenstein’s Monster tries to do. Lonliness is a strong powerful thing and universally understood and felt. If it’s not possible, then what is possible? Companionship with your MC? Oh rite toon and a safe place if your MC is courageous enough to help the Yeti? To me the Yeti’s lonliness is where you find your plot, it is the strongest part of your story and to me as a reader what I want to know is if the Yeti gets a friend or not.

Trustworthy? When the main character wants to put them back in prison? Hmm… the Yeti can only win the MC over and then the MC has to have the courage and loyalty to help. Other stories along this vein (and it is powerful) is E.T. and The Iron Giant and actually The Hunt for the Red October.

You can read books or watch shows about bounty hunters or fugitives (like the movie “The Fugitive”) and see if it gives you any ideas for details. Watching E.T. The Hunt for the Red October and The Iron Giant would be even better. Having compassion for something deep and part of life that we all feel whether we are human or animal (lonliness in this case) is where the plot is going to come from.

Now do you give it to the Yeti and to your readers or not?
 

sunaynaprasad

WF Veterans
I actually just came up with other ideas that might work better. While the yeti will still be in the story, the missing autographed poster will be a mystery of to who stole it. The yeti could be one if the thieves. This is the new plot I think will be more fun to write.
 

Travalgar

Senior Member
You came up with an idea to continue your plot just a little over six hours after you made a post about not being able to plot past the beginning your story. I hope it clears up something for you: Often, the key to almost all of a writer's locked doors is to just keep writing.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I think you should start drafting your WIP! You have enough to get going. Perhaps your characters will lead the way. When I started my WIP, I only had a theme, characters, settings, and a few ideas for scenes. Then, as I was drafting, I took breaks for a few days, each week and just worked on the plot. I really enjoyed writing this way. I know some people plot it all upfront, but for me, that's too much concentration of brainstorming. I need time to be creative. Up until a few weeks, before I wrote it, I didn't know what the ending would be, only the criteria needed to complete the story. And now, I love the ending....I think it's perfect.

If you have the stomach to be a pantser...I would try it...what have you got to lose?
 

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
You came up with an idea to continue your plot just a little over six hours after you made a post about not being able to plot past the beginning your story. I hope it clears up something for you: Often, the key to almost all of a writer's locked doors is to just keep writing.
AND, often the key to finding an answer is to completely spell out the problem to someone else. It makes us step back from the problem a bit. It's pretty common for people to start outlining a problem to someone else and in the middle say, "OH! I just got it!" :) It's so common for some people they do it on purpose, knowing there's a good chance the solution will come to them. I'm in that group.

And Sunayna, the key for me when I get stuck like that is one of two things;
1. I'm not comfortable the problems I'm leaving for my MC fit well, and I have to back up and change the story a bit to something that clicks, or
2. I treat it like a logic puzzle. I think about all the elements of the puzzle, and I think and think about possible solutions. If the first solution I consider doesn't even convince me, I'm pretty sure it won't convince readers, so I keep thinking until something DOES impress me. But if you can't ever get there with #2, go back to #1.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
I just came across a list of 6 questions that you can ask and answer to move your story forward. I'll share these with you in case they help:

Who is it about?
What do they want?
Why can't they get it?
What do they do about that?
Why doesn't it work?
How does it end?

Hopefully this can help you in your quest! I like hearing that you had some new ideas...it's amazing what your subconscious will return after a while when you've been thinking about your story. :D
 

Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Media Manager
I am outlining the chapter-by-chapter summaries for my current WIP. While I was able to get the beginning chapters down with no problem, I am now having trouble coming up with summaries for the later chapters, after the first 6.
I've tried different versions, but they all bored me. I do have a goal for my MC, but I feel like I am using too much believability, where too many obstacles are put in the way.
The plot is where a yeti is looking for my MC, who is 15, and only she can capture him and return him to the prison in which he escaped from. However, when the yeti is in my MC's town, the county is on lockdown. In order for my MC to succeed at getting him back to the prison he'd left and breaking the spells the guards have gone under, she has to prove herself trustworthy.
I know I can make her do the wrong things, but even those are hard to brainstorm.
I also don't have an idea for an ending to my story. Originally, it was going to end with my MC's close friend's birthday party. But that was getting in the way of giving my MC a goal, which is now to find an autographed poster that the yeti has stolen for his goal, which is to build a robotic yeti since the rest of the yeti population has been wiped out and magic can't create living things out of thin air.
I've given myself breaks from the outline for at least a few days. But even then, I couldn't come up with exciting chapter summaries.
I could read for inspiration, or even watch movies for it. The idea of the yeti was inspired by a dream I had and recalling a movie about a yeti called "The Missing Link."
Do you think I should take a break from plotting and read or watch something to help me get inspired? I've been working on this WIP since March.
Anyone who has been writing very long has run into this. It's known as painting yourself into a corner.
Having been down that path, I wait until I have a solid outline at least 90% of the way thru the story before I write anything. No sense in writing 120k words and not being able to finish the thing...or the ending is wanting.
Your writing time is valuable. Don;t waste it on story fragments.
 
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