Plot Revealing Itself?


A couple weeks ago I wrote about my panic over
characters revealing themselves.

Wise writer-friends weighed in on how they enjoy this aspect
of novel-writing because it means (among other things) that
my characters are still speaking to me,
and that I’m getting to know them just as I get to know people in real life,
and that I should bask in those little revelations because they add an element of surprise to the process.

Such wise friends.

I’m now hip to (and content with) the character revelation thing,
but am now wondering how you all feel about plot points revealing themselves.

What I’m struggling with is that I have basic plot points figured out,
but I have to keep tweaking and tweaking to fine-tune them.

Do you all have this issue with plotting?
(I’m not even sure if I’m making sense here so will try one last description):

It’s as if I know the plot points but it turns out that’s not enough to write this draft;
I have to keep rethinking/reworking the plot points to get where the story wants/needs to go.

I was making such headway but in the last couple days have gotten bogged down
in figuring out what I thought was already figured out!

Anyone have insights?

13 thoughts on “Plot Revealing Itself?

  1. Well, as a plot person, I do experience this. But plot points always come to me more quickly than character arcs, so when I know the ending, then usually I can fill in the middle…though there are times when it’s not enough, as well. When that happens, I go trail running (like I did this morning, in fact) and it always seems to work it out as I struggle up that hill 😉


    • Thanks for your reply, Robin. It’s reassuring that a plot queen such as yourself has some of these same struggles. I think I’ll give it a try on the whiteboard right now, and if that doesn’t work, I’m scheduled for a trail run tomorrow. 🙂


  2. me.. characters come first.
    The plot comes much slower and is more like unfolding origami, I need to see how it is made, but I don’t want to lose the shape!


  3. I usually start a story with the MC. A intense conversation with the MC and another person. And a strong sense of the climatic scene. That’s it. The more I think about the why’s of the scenes I see, the more the different plot points come. But I tell ya, Diyari, draft five . . . I was still tweaking things. As I learn about a character or become more familiar with the story, it is easier for me to see inconsistencies in character actions or an oddity in plot. But you know what? I have seen published books that have a plot flaw or mishap. Plot unfolds overtime. Remember, the story is the result of the character and their development, so to some degree, your plot cannot be fully formed when you are still learning about your characters. IMHO. 🙂


  4. My plots change quite a lot — sometimes subtle shifts, and sometimes in complete reversals. And knowing the characters better is often what prompts me to revise. Though sometimes it’s simply that I’ve thought of a way to make the story more dramatic or better balanced by changing the events.


    • Complete reversals in plot? Wow. I don’t know if I’ve had that happen, and it’s probably a good thing if I don’t because it would probably make my insecure writerly head pop off!


  5. Sometimes, discovering new plot points deep into the story is the universe telling me I haven’t thought of everything yet. Sometimes, that makes me slow down and consider whether or not I’ve done everything right. And later in the process, it’s my editor, telling me to reconsider certain things because they’re still not strong enough.

    Fortunately or unfortunately, writing isn’t math. There is no one right answer. There will never be.

    My advice, be open to everything then selective in what you choose.


    • I agree with you about slowing down and considering whether or not I’ve done everything right. That’s exactly what I did, and after some whiteboard writing, figured out a character piece I hadn’t known. Now the plot/tension feel better. Thank you for your input, Jody.


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