• Plot

    On Finding Plots: “I’ve Got Characters, But No Plot”

    I’ve always gotten a lot of questions that look a little like this: “I love my characters, but I don’t have a plot or even a setting. What do I do?” It makes a plot sound like this strange elusive thing. I talked about plot in a post a few weeks ago so, I’m going to follow up on that. Let’s find some plots! The Lists of Plots So, this isn’t something I do regularly, but I’ve found that when you’re stuck, it can get you unstuck. Look at a list of plots and pick one. It’s that easy. A few lists I like in particular are the 29 Plot…

  • Plot

    Let’s Talk About Plot

    So this has been a highly requested post as of late, so I thought I’d spend a little extra time talking about plot. What is it? How does it work? What constitutes plot? I get these questions a lot and the more I think about it the more insanely philosophic the conversation starts to get, but I’m too pragmatic to get into that here. Let’s get to the root of it. A plot is a conflict. I think most of us already knew that, but sometimes a reminder can be helpful. Plots are problems. There aren’t a ton of incredibly happy stories –or at least they tend not to be…

  • Plot,  Revision,  Writer's Block

    Writing More than One Plot Line

    “How many plot lines are too many?” I don’t think there’s a definitive answer here. There are some books that thrive on having such a narrow focus, showing one character grappling with one central conflict, while others are busier, lots of characters lots of conflicts and that’s great too. I think it all comes back to one question, “what is this book trying to accomplish?”

  • Plot

    Crafting Conflict: Man vs. Self

    “Hi Lizard. How do I write a man vs. self style story that is not one hundred percent woe is me? Something tragic happens to my protagonist and I’m trying not to write hundreds of pages of them moaning on about it.”

  • Plot,  Writer's Block,  Writing Inspiration,  Writing Life

    “My Writing is Not Original Enough” & How to Get Over It

    “I’ve been working on this novel for a while but every time I’m getting some real headway with the story I always find myself saying hey, this sounds a lot like this show I love or a book or a movie and then it all just falls apart. Do you have any tips for avoiding taking plots and characters from other works around you instead of creating your own?”