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Plotting Blues? Try Something Different

Plotting Blues? Try Something Different Jill Kemerer

Last month I took a few days to flesh out my next novel and promptly got a case of the plotting blues. Almost eighteen months ago, I’d figured out the basic plot (it will be the sixth and final book in my Wyoming Ranchers series), but I knew I needed to develop it further before I can begin writing it.

Here’s the thing: I’ve been anticipating writing this book for a long time! I know the hero. I’m excited to write his story. But when it came time to flesh the story out? Nothing.

I prayed about it and relaxed. The story would come to me at some point. They always do. But in the meantime, I decided to try something different.

Way back when I first began blogging (in 2008, shortly after I first began submitting manuscripts to publishers), I came across Camy Tang’s blog, Story Sensei. She had practical tips for writing synopses and for getting to know your characters. Her current For Writers page (linked) has links to various resources, and I discovered she’d written several short ebooks on various subjects.

I purchased Story Sensei Characterization Worksheet: Create Memorable, Three-Dimensional Characters (#commissionearned) for a whopping $0.99 and proceeded to read it on my phone’s Kindle app.

The exercises she recommends made sense, and I promptly did the initial exercises for both my main characters. In the process, I realized the reason I’d been stuck was three-fold.

  1. I had no idea what my heroine wanted out of life or how her past was affecting her current decisions.
  2. I didn’t know why my heroine couldn’t (in her mind, at least) be with the hero.
  3. My hero didn’t have a clear, concrete story goal.

Camy’s characterization worksheet (in reality, it’s a 70-page ebook) really helped me get out of my own head and into the characters. I appreciated the different approach to plotting. I’ll definitely be using it again.

Do you ever get the plotting blues? Are you stuck trying to figure out a story? What do you do? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Enjoy your day!

Jill Kemerer is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author of heartwarming, emotional, small-town romance novels often featuring cowboys. She hopes to encourage readers through her books the way so many books have encouraged her. Jill's essentials include coffee, caramels, a stack of books, her mini-doxie, and long walks outdoors. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two almost-grown children. For more information, visit her website, jillkemerer.com.

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