Crafting a Plot

I’m not a serious plotter. By that, I mean I don’t know every single scene and how many words each chapter will be or how many chapters the story will actually have. 

I do know my major plot points, beginning and end. Everything in the middle is a discovery to me. I can fix any issues in the editing process. 

I’m plotting a new story (major plot points); it’s in the baby stages–not even ready to send to my agent to say, “What do you think? Should I run with this or call it a day?” 

Craft books have come in handy for sure, but truth is I like to apply that knowledge (mostly) when I go into the editing process. My first draft is all about imagination–seeing it play out like a movie in my head and exploring along with my characters. 

I’m looking forward to figuring out the middle main plot points so I can write up a synopsis and send to my agent. I haven’t written from a clean slate in over a year. Maybe two. I had so many mss under my belt, I’ve been taking them from first drafts to polished pieces.  Although I admit, after all the editing/polishing they are like new books. I’m finally about to send off the last ms to my critique partners and get a green light on this new book to write. Hopefully. I’m pretty excited about it!

I’ve been reading Story Structure Architect and it’s wonderful. I’ve been using it to plot out my main stuff and it’s been very helpful. I’m curious how much tighter my first draft writing will be compared to my previous ones. 

Check out my Pinterest page to see more craft books I’ve thanked God for! Also, you can catch a sneak peek at my new plot ideas for the book. I tend to develop ideas as I research, so I’ve been imagining a few things!

Writers: Are you plotters, pantsers or somewhere in between and what craft book/s do you recommend? 
Readers: Are you on Pinterest? Let me know in the comments and I’ll follow your boards!

19 thoughts on “Crafting a Plot

  1. I'm a plotter–although things do tend to change a bit as I write. I'm always looking for beter plotting ideas. Will need to check out this book. Right now I ordered Save the Cat and plan to read that this summer.

  2. Uh, yeah, no pantser here (but you probably could have figured that out!). I'm a plotter, but I do leave myself room for change. In other words, if I'm writing and an idea strikes that isn't in my outline, but seems to work, I go with it.

    So glad you finished your edits! Yay!

  3. I'm a major plotter, but after this book has taken so long to edit, I'm wondering if I shouldn't try something new on the next book.

  4. For the last several years I've been a die-hard plotter, but I'm trying something a little different for my current story. It has a lighter feel and I want it to be fun, so I'm leaving room to be a bit more spontaneous. We'll see if it works out 🙂

  5. Plotter! Big Time! I attended a conference where Martha Alderson, author of The Plot Whisperer, taught us about plot structure.

    Now I am an even BIGGER fan of plotting my book before I begin.

    I still brainstorm a little before hand, but plotting it all out has helped me tremendously. I admire those who can just write and it all works out in the end.


    Great post!

  6. I am such a pantser! I have a general theme when I start, and I'll interview my MC…but after that, I start telling the story and see where it leads. Once I get going I can see a few more plot points, oh and where I want it to end…though that tends to change along the way too! It makes for eventful editing:) But as hard as I try and plot, it tends to shut me down, so I roll with it. That's why I shudder when I have to write a synopsis before I'm done. Ugh.

  7. I used to be a complete pantser, but my current novel is so intricate I really had to spend a lot of time plotting. I ended up with a 50 scene outline and that helped me tremendously in getting it finished in a reasonable amount of time. That said, I don't plan the scenes to the minute detail, and I do leave room for changes/new scene. But I'm learning to really enjoy plotting ahead.

    I'm on Pinterest – stacygreen26:)

  8. I used to be a pantser, but my recent deadline forced me to become a plotter. My methods are similar to yours. I create a framework, but I don't detail the chapter numbers or anything like that. I'm on Pinterest!

  9. I'm a panster in the first draft, but a plotter after that.

  10. I'm a little of both. I like to have a rough structure and know where each scene is heading, but I love the discovery of how that scene will unfold and which characters will reveal something new to me! I'm excited to check out your Pinterest board! I'm always in the market for a good craft book.

  11. Plotter otter, right here! I have no idea why I just said "plotter otter." It just sounded cool. And otters are funny, so…yeah, clearly I'm weird today.

    But seriously, I'm a total plotter! I think it's because I have control issues and don't like not knowing where I'm going. 🙂 Plus, it helps me write faster. That said, I think it's important to be flexible–if the characters take me somewhere new, I tend to follow within reason. Actually, I'm a huge fan of MBT for that reason–the storycrafting Susie and Rachel teach leaves room for pantsers or plotters!

  12. I'm a plotter who writes one sentence for each chapter. The rest of the chapter is a surprise, but I need to know where my story is going and how it will end before I complete it.

    I swear by Susan May Warren's work-texts: Inside Out, Deep and Wide, Kiss and Tell. The Book Buddy is my friend while plotting and writing the rough draft.

    I'm on Pinterest!! LisaJordanBooks

  13. Jessica, the fact that your first draft is all about your imagination is EXACTLY how it should be – just my two cents. That's where the words and ideas flow freely and amazing discovery takes place. Love it! That's where you're actually writing – not refining, editing, re-writing, or anything else. Well said!

    Yes, I'm on Pinterest!

  14. I'm a plotter. Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell is a good one.

  15. Planster? Pottster? Plotting pantser with perpertual ping moments….
    SInce I hate being told what to do, I fly the flag of pantser. But I need an outlineor I go berserk.
    Pinterest+Jennifer=never ever seeing the bottom of the to-do list.

  16. I am trying to learn to plot, since I didn't really know much with my first ms. I have been working through My Book Buddy from It is an excellent tool.

  17. I'm a major idea plotter who pantsers(?) my way thru the middle. But then, I'm only @ 30+ pages on my first write. I know how it's gonna end….I think (insert big gulp herr). Glad you posted this though! It actually answers the question I had when I first signed on today. Definitely gonna check out this book. Thanks!

  18. I really wish I were a plotter, but it's just not in me. I plot in my head and can only move on to the next chapter when I have a clear idea of where I'm going with the story. So I do a lot of head-plotting, but nothing on paper, except maybe a few notes of things I think of that might need to be changed later. But for the most part, I edit as I go along. I just downloaded a book on my Kindle the other day called "How I are Becomed a Very Much Gooder Author," which I'm finding to be a great read. Just the title alone is reason enough to grab it, don't ya think? 🙂

  19. Thanks everyone for sharing some great books! I love hearing how unique we are yet all sharing in the same passion! Good stuff! 🙂


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