The Return of the Plot

Back in January, I plotted the novel.

Then, in March, I ditched the plot.

Now, after months of drafting in rabbit holes, I am ready to reintroduce a plot structure. My working document is currently 50,000 words of MESS, but I’ve got enough of the story to start putting the pieces in place.

Boiled down to sticky notes, it’s not that complicated. Some of this is written, and some of it still needs to be. A large chunk of the current draft will probably be cut, but those words aren’t wasted; they needed to be written for me to figure out these characters. I’m still not sure about the end, but it will make itself known in time.

(I’m trying to sound breezy about it, but the truth is that I’m very uncomfortable with this stage of drafting. It feels like all this work and all these ideas are being held up on stilts and could collapse at any second. “Is there even anything here?” I keep asking myself.

This is also the stage at which it becomes harder to dip in and out of a novel project. Without sustained time [at least 2-3 hours a day], I find it hard to keep the whole thing in my head. I find myself writing scenes I’ve already written, thinking thoughts I’ve already thought.

Other writers have been here, too, I remind myself. There is no way but through. And in the meantime, there are sticky notes.)