Too Many Plots
What happens when you have too many plots? Paralysis sets in, and your writing freezes. Here’s one way to fix that.
One of the side effects of Covid-19 is the feeling that you’re drifting. One day is like another, and it’s easy to postpone writing until tomorrow. Or next Tuesday. Or not write at all. I thought I’d overcome writing paralysis because I’m retired, and postponing tasks is easy to do.
Then came Covid-19. My small world shrank further. No visiting, no outside activities, no club meetings. Why care about writing?
During the last week of June, a FB post caught my eye—what have you accomplished during quarantine? Other than starting a sourdough and cooking more, I answered “not much”. With that sad result staring me in the face, I resolved to write every day in July. Not exactly Camp NaNo, but I have a fourth book in a series that had stalled.
On July 1st, with grim determination, I opened my Scrivener file and started writing. Amazingly, my story took off. A few days later, the good times crashed to a stop. Subplot #1 had taken over.
What Happens When You Have Too Many Plots?
Subplot #1, a threat to my MC’s family, pushed aside the main plot, a demon returning from the dead. Five thousand new words later, I’d lost the main plot.
I moved the subplot to Book Five, where it competed with another subplot I’d planned. Should I move it back to Four? Where did it belong?
Scrivener Jenga had to stop. I pulled out a legal pad and listed the main and sub plots for books four, five, and six. Then I listed their importance (1=important, 5=minor) to the overall series arc, a step that clarified each book’s priorities. After that, I had no problem deciding where each plot belonged. (Book Five is still a little dicey).
Sometimes, when you have too many plots, you have to go back to basics—paper and pen—to find answers.
p.s. I’m writing faster because now I have a more detailed outline, and I don’t have to second guess my scenes.
p.p.s. I’ll have news on the release of Book One, Schnoztopia, soon.
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