I'm Terrified of Plot

Writing the beginning to a story is my favorite moment. The middle and end bit, though, are definite struggles for me. I've tried plotting out stories in numerous ways, like creating a timeline of my story and writing in the scenes, or using the three acts method. It feels forced every time I do this, which is why I rely on my characters to write the story for me. 

If you are like me and feel uneasy about creating plot, try to not think about. Just start writing. 

One of my favorite writing quotes sums it up perfectly: "Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." - E.L. Doctorow 


I'm beginning a novel for my PhD and I have characters, I have setting, but I didn't have plot until very recently.

"So my main character meets [blank] and uh, that's about as far as I've gotten," I said to anyone who asked me what my novel was about. 

Not having a clue what I was doing didn't phase me. For my Masters dissertation, I changed my mind just before starting the dissertation, after a month of planning something else. I didn't know where the piece was going but as I wrote, it figured itself out. 

I aim to write at least 1,000 words a day (though I'd like to change that to 2,000 a day). If you love to write, this shouldn't be too daunting, and if you've made sense of your characters, you should feel confident that they will show you the way. 

I fear that organizing is just a way of procrastinating. I love organizing. I love color-coding a calendar that I'll realistically never rely on. Before my PhD program started, I created reading assignments to fill out and monthly calendars with daily tasks, and do you think I've used any of that since the start of my program? Nope. 

But why should I? Instead of staring at a blank piece of paper thinking of how to structure my entire novel and call it the "Planning Process", I've written 10,000 words of my novel and I've felt fucking great about it. 

Don't get overwhelmed by plot and beware of organizing addiction. We can't all be Liz Lemon


 
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