Monday Map: On to Plot

Boy, I had a whole different post written this morning, all about how I hadn’t made my goal of working through the antagonist’s worksheets inWriting the Breakout Novel Workbook. But then I got up early this morning, opened the second worksheet, and…bam! I still have one more worksheet to go in the character section–on combining characters (maybe I’ll finally figure out if I need the younger brother!), and then I’m done with character.

Yeah, right. Like we’re ever done with character.

But…Just to keep things moving, I’m going to do that last worksheet today. And to encourage myself, I’m designating this holiday Monday as part of the weekend, thus part of the week. Which means I will be ready to move onto the plot worksheets tomorrow. I’m SO ready for plot.

Um…again, Yeah, right. I’m not sure I’m ever ready for plot.

I’m sure I’ve whined talked before about how plot is my biggest challenge, about how I’m not particularly fond of plotting. And how much I need it, because I hate even more the feeling I get when I write without plot–like I’m wandering around in a fog, not knowing if there’s even a stepping stone anywhere around, let alone being able to tell which one I should walk on next. I like the stones laid out for me–it gives me the ability to fill in all the landscaping around them, decorate them with paint and stickers if I want, and–yes–throw some away and add some others. If I don’t have the stepping stones, it’s all just mud.

The worksheet I just finished told me to outline the antagonist’s story. Yeah. I did. Really. At least as well as I could. But it isn’t making me happy–not the outline I’ve got. It still feels nebulous and grey and blah. I’m going to let it go for now and hope that, as I work through the plot worksheets, I’ll see more of the picture and the details. And I WILL go back to that worksheet, as I get more concrete ideas, to make that storyline more solid and active.

The goal for this week, after today? It’s an easy one: Start on the plot worksheets!

Any goals for you this week? Any accomplishments you’d like a pat on the back for? Drop them into the comments below!


  1. Congrats on your plotting along. (sorry couldn’t resist the pun). I bought his workbook for when I finish my memoir, so I can try my hand at fiction. I am curious if using his workbook will prove beneficial to you, for it seems like a long time to do the planning. Memoir is easier, I know the plot line πŸ™‚

    I just finished editing another chapter – making the language crisp and using more specific verbs. I have cut out a lot of unnecessary material, and am just editing until I figure out how to present my ending without sounding too preachy – I’m taking a memoir workshop in March and want my first fifty pages whipped in shape. I’m almost half-way there.

    Re the ending, I tried writing my first contact with the pastor who helped me pull my life together. At the Bible study he teaches, he always goes behind a moving screen to turn on the sound system. I wrote that in my story and people in my writing class said, “Pay no attention to the man behind the screen.” Sigh – how easy it is to mess up with words.

    Have a blessed day.


    • beckylevine says:

      I don’t know, Heather, I’ve always thought it would be hard to write the plot part of a memoir–and get all the story elements in! Good for you for going for it. πŸ™‚ Hope you like the workbook.


  2. Lana H. Jackson says:

    Becky, Thanks for sharing your progress with this Workbook. I, too, flounder in my story if I don’t know where I’m going. Liked your stepping stone visual.


  3. I understand the fog…I too like to know where I’m going. But a funny thing has happened–and I think you’ll relate to this. The better I know my characters, the more I know my plot. Make sense?
    Goal for the week: Finish Chapter 1 and submit on Friday to the SCBWI Carolinas contest. Hmmm…I think I’ve had this goal before…


    • beckylevine says:

      I think this is true for me, too, Carol, but one of the hardest things for me is to turn that understanding of who these people are into specific actions they would DO. I’m going to have to be patient with myself in this next section. Now go get that Chapter 1 DONE. πŸ™‚


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