In Search of Plot

I won’t bother reiterating my usual complaints about the love scene I’m writing. That’s been documented elsewhere in this blog. But once I do finish this scene, I have a slight problem.

I don’t know what happens next.

I’ve never been a big plotter. I’ve made considerable effort over the course of the last year to become more of one–a process which has worked to…well varying small degrees. I had some stuff in mind for this book that just hasn’t panned out. I was supposed to be framing the hero for the murders. Yeah, nobody’s going to believe that. If Kensie finds a bloody knife in Collin’s woodshop, she’s going to assume it’s a plant. And the reader already knows from the way he’s responded to the various murders that it couldn’t be him. So there’s one plot point out the window. There were some things I considered for the latter half of the book as points of conflict that simply don’t work anymore. So I need to come up with some new ones.

I’ve brought my hero and heroine together, and now I need to find a way to pull them apart or threaten them. Do I have any idea how to do this? No. This is always a problem for me–I’m a romantic at heart–sue me. When I get them together I have a hard time doing anything to screw that up. But romance aside, I really don’t know where the rest of my suspense plot is going either! At this point we have 3 bodies, a motive, a signature, and absolutely no suspects. I know there’s at least one other victim before the end. But I don’t have any idea how this book is going to end.

This is not a good place to be halfway through the Sweat. I’m already behind on words. I had thought to catch up while on vacation this week, but it looks like I’m going to be mainly doing some thinking instead (and hammering out that love scene to give it the proper import).

I don’t want to fall into the trap of cliché. I know I have done that in several places thus far–particularly with language, and that hasn’t bothered me too much up to to this point. I know this isn’t the final draft. The whole point of this exercise is to finish the story. It can be refined later. I know that if I fall victim to the temptation of trying to find exactly the right word or phrase or metaphor that I’ll take another nine years to finish this thing, and that’s just not acceptable. I have other stories to tell and I’ve got to produce in order to eventually publish. But whatever I’m willing to accept in clichéed language for the short term, I’m not willing to accept in plot. Language can be fixed later. But I need to have a strong foundation and an original plot to build on.

I think maybe I’ve gotten a little body happy. Don’t know what comes next? Throw out another dead body!

I need to take the time to outline what I have thus far and start looking at it in an overall story arc. Bleh. I hate that. Necessary evil though. And more appealing than the discussion boards I need to grade for class.

Pot’s out of town the rest of this week, so I’ll be on my own for brainstorming. She’s probably relieved. I feel like I’ve been kind of needy lately on the crit partner front, and that’s hardly been fair to her. She’s got her own plot issues to work out, and I’ve not been as helpful with that as I should be. So maybe I should just take some time off, read my homicide investigation textbooks and see what comes together. I don’t want to just cobble something together out of half-baked ideas.

Hubby and I are off to figure out what to do for the day.

One thought on “In Search of Plot

  1. Hmm. Best advice that I can offer is probably something you’ve heard before (and since I don’t know your project that well, vague). Take your main character, chase him up a tree, and throw rocks at him. If accusing him for murder doesn’t work, find a way that it will still be very, very bad for him, either with the investigation or something he really needed from said dead guy. Or possibly the next most logical suspect. Forget language and ‘quality’– you’ll rewrite the entire thing over a few more times anyway, so don’t bother with them. Get the form down first.

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