What to do When Your Book’s Plot Fails

Hey there!

 

I recently went through a traumatizing experience: I wrote a 210-page first draft, was rewriting it, and got over 100 pages in when I realized…

The plot wasn’t right.

This post is a step-by-step guide on what to do if this ever happens to you, based off of my own personal experience.

Step One: Bang your head on a desk/table/wall

This is strangely relieving to your frustration. Just let the head drop onto the table where you were sitting with your computer when the dreadful revelation happened. Bang it around a few times. Let out the absolute crushed-ness of your writer’s heart.

 

Step Two: BREATHE

This is an important step! Take in a deep breath through your nose, and then let it out from your mouth a couple times. Repeat until you’re calm enough to think again.

 

Step Three: Close the offending document

The story has failed you. So why should you hang around? Close the thing (make sure the save, though) and leave your computer alone for a while. Take a walk. Play video games. Read a book. Anything other than writing. Make sure you don’t think about it for a while. (I promise, it only will give you a lot of headache) (Can you tell that I learned the hard way? πŸ˜‚)

 

Step Four: BIG BREAK

Take a very long break from your book. I mean at least a half a month, though I recommend a full month. Go to that plot bunny you’ve been thinking about and work on that. When you finally hit a wall with it, it’s time to come back to your old story. You’ll be able to look at it with fresh eyes, and it’ll be so much easier to change it. (I promise, I’ve literally tested this) (several times)

 

Step Five: Take out physical paper and pencil

This is actually easier when you’re doing it not a computer or something. The thing you must do is write out what you need to add to the story that was missing (and made the whole plot collapse around your ears in the first place). For me, this happened to be some pretty essential plot points. The next thing you must do is brainstorm how to add these in.

Remember: you are allowed to stray from the old plot. 

It failed you. You are absolutely free to change it all if you want. (Plus, you’re the one who made it all in the first place) You may want to keep a lot of it (like certain scenes, character development, or hilarious comebacks) but your first priority is to make the plot work.

If you want a more in-depth description on rewriting, check out this series!

 

Step Six: Begin the new rewrite

Now it’s time to pull out a new, blank document and all the old ones as well. Begin rewriting your story with them to be used when you’re using old scenes. If you’re interested in a more in-depth explanation, check out this recent post of mine!

 

 

And there we go! A clear, step-by-step guide! πŸ˜„

 

 

The Storm Inside

I got a bit more work done on this; here are some snippets!

 

Drake let out a loud groan, but for once, Amanda ignored him. She had a feeling that ran deeper in her than this ache that it was leading her to something important. Something she needed.

 

She slipped after only a moment, hitting her nose hard on the ground. Amanda could feel blood starting to trickle out of it, but didn’t have time to wipe it away. She gritted her teeth, using her will to stay alive to fuel her as she pushed herself.

 

Holding her nose – that was the second time it had been crushed by ice in the past five minutes! – Amanda turned about.

 

Did you enjoy those?

 

Boxes!

I realized just the other day that I forgot to mention something in my monthly recap: I’ve decided that every month, after the overview is posted, and I’ve calculated my average of, well, everything, then I’m going to see if I can find a company I’m interested in working with and try pitching them.

So the first company I pitched never responded, which I took as a no… πŸ˜‚

But I got a reply last week from the one I did this month; they were super awesome about it, and it turns out they only do social media representatives. (Oops) But, hey, because they actually replied, I thought I’d drop a link to them anyways!

Click HERE for the link to Beacon Book Box!

 

 

Worksheets

I was asked after my monthly overview of what exactly I meant by worksheets. Turns out I’d forgotten to even tell you about what I meant! πŸ˜‚ To describe them, they’re to go along with what I talk about in posts to help you follow along easier, or as something I’ve added on. I gave you guys a poll to see what you thought, and the results are in: 5 people want free worksheets, and 1 doesn’t.

That isn’t exactly encouraging, and I put a lot of thought into this. Do I really want to make these?

My decision is that yes, I will try. My goal for this summer is to make at least one worksheet to go along with a post. We’ll see how it goes, and if it’s good, then I’ll consider making more.

However!

I am a rising entrepreneur. Meaning I want to help you guys out but still get paid. (Crazy, I know, especially since I spend every Monday throwing free content at you) I’ve been blogging for almost a year now, and have decided to try monetizing my blog. I really should’ve started long ago, but I didn’t feel comfortable asking for money in return. (Not to say that I still don’t πŸ˜‚) So I am putting out a survey! I’d appreciate it if you’d answer it. πŸ˜‰

[os-widget path=”/julia124/to-buy-or-not-to-buy” comments=”false”]

 

 

Pinterest Board: Released!

Just as a quick note because I thought you would be interested: I un-secreted my board on Pinterest for my inspiration for The Triad of Caosdif. If you want to see it, just click HERE and get a peek as to what wild ideas are going through my head for it. 😜

Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 9.56.49 AM

Have you ever had a plot fail majorly on you?

Was this post helpful to you?

What kind of posts on writing do you want me to do next?

Did you enjoy the snippets?

Are you checking out Beacon Book Box?

And are you going to see my Pinterest board?

Tell me in the comments below!

-Julia

 

 

 

19 thoughts on “What to do When Your Book’s Plot Fails

  1. Ohh yes for sure I’ve had plots collapse about my ears.πŸ˜‚But usually only when I’m outlining, so I haven’t had to scrap whole manuscripts or anything. (This is why I outline ahh!!) But it’s so frustrating and definitely makes me want to chew through a wall. I find time really does help though, too, so that’s an excellent tip. Also actively working through the plot? Sometimes I feel like we writers just do a lot of “waiting” for inspiration to come, when sometimes we actually have to go work for it and think it through.πŸ˜‚Although that doesn’t ALWAYS work. Inspiration can be stubborn haha.

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    1. This isn’t the first time that it’s happened to me, actually. πŸ˜‚ I did the same thing with a trilogy around 2 years ago. I still haven’t gone back to fix it. I am outlining like nuts this time, but am super frustrated by the whole process. None of my characters want to behave. I had to spend 2 weeks on one character arc. (halp!)

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  2. Very helpful advice indeed, especially the first point XD I took the survey, but I chose all the options that were free because I’m broke and I don’t want to spend my parents’ money on such things. Hope you understand!!

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    1. I’m glad that it is. πŸ˜† I totally get that; quite honestly, I would probably choose that as well. πŸ˜‚ I just have to pay for my blog domain so I’m trying to give me a tiny bit of wiggle room instead of counting up money down to the dollar. πŸ˜›

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  3. Ahhh! I know what you mean with the writer’s block! I had a document, 100 or so pages written and I just couldn’t go on. Nothing was working! Part of the problem was that it was set in the Civil War and I hadn’t done enough research. Let’s just say this book is my pet project and someday…it will be published. I’m sticking to shorter books now…want to get stuff out there then publish the big one!

    Have you ever heard of Meraki Mailer? http://www.merakisubscriptionbox.com I don’t exactly know all that you have to do, but for a writing contest, I received one of these as a prize. Some of them look really cool! You should check it out.

    Question, any pointers on getting my blog out there more? I ordered some business cards which I plan to hand out at an event I’m going to this summer but I’d like to try and get it out there even more. I know I’ve only been blogging for a little over a month but I’d like to have some ideas about how I can get it out there more!

    I really hope you can make some more progress on your book! This writing thing is really hard sometimes but I know you can do it!

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    1. Oh no! I hate when I get so far into a project, but then am stuck for weeks on end. That always sucks. Ugh, research. I would say talk to Madi Grace about that (she’s a blogger). She’s great with research. (Just type madisongraceauthor.com into your search bar) I wish you the best of luck with your writing! πŸ˜ƒ

      Nope, I haven’t. I’ll check it out! Thanks! πŸ˜ƒ

      Oh gosh, I struggle with that myself. πŸ˜‚ Honestly, I find appearing on other people’s blogs helps a LOT! I got like 5 followers once from a blogger talking about me. (Best day ever 😜) I also do stuff on Pinterest, and it’s supposed to help, but I still have yet to see a return on all my time invested into it. πŸ˜‚

      Thanks! I’m trying to work on plotting out The Triad of Caosdif right now and want to save The Storm Inside for July (Camp NaNoWriMo). Then I can totally power through! πŸ˜„ 😜

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    1. Gosh, same. There are some old ideas I have from old stories, but the plots…? *hysterical laughter* Completely nonexistent! Someday, I plan on redoing them. Hopefully that will go well. πŸ˜‚

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  4. This post is a LIFESAVER!! In the many times a plot has failed me in the past I usually ONLY bang my head on a table. XD
    Also, I think it’s cool your expanding your blog! I’m very excited to see how you improve it in the future. πŸ™‚

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    1. I’m glad to hear that! Haha, yeah, I still do lots of banging. Or screaming at my paper/characters to work with me. πŸ˜‚ I literally stuck my tongue out at my notebook today because my MC is being so difficult.
      Thanks! I hope that it goes well. I’m just trying to figure out what my readers want before I invest a bunch of time into it, but I also want it to be something I WANT to make. πŸ˜›

      Like

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