How I’m plotting and writing my web series novel Glimmer in the Dark ( ) which is available on my Subscribestar account ( )

I must admit that I’ve generally been a by the seat of my pants writer (though often without the pants at strange hours of the night and early morning). When I plot stories in detail from the beginning to the end, I run into 3 critical problems.

Problem (1): By the time I have plotted the story from the beginning to the end, struggling and stopping sometimes for a long time trying to work out which thing should happen next, I’m also losing interest in the story. It becomes a chore. It’s no longer fun, it’s just hard work.

Problem (2): Knowing the End, Middle, Beginning, in great detail… it feels like I already know the story, so I become bored with it. I also know the next problem is inevitable.

Problem (3): I’m a character writer. I write according to what’s likely for my characters, their personalities, motivations, how they feel, and roleplay their story in my mind as I’m writing it. Actually, it feels a lot more like I’m “channelling” their actions, words, and how they do stuff. Due to this, it’s proven to be nearly impossible to disentangle from situations that refuse to go according to the previously carefully planned highly detailed plot. The characters don’t want to go “That way”, they want do something else, go somewhere else, do other stuff. If I try to shoehorn them, they’ll be out of character and it’s noticeable to me, and the characters become “dead” tools of the plot.

So…. how do I get past this conundrum of my own style? I’ve written dozens of stories, under other names, and I won’t be telling you who/what those names are. I studied and listened to the advice of numerous other writers. None of it was usable to me.

One of my pet peeves in other’s stories, particularly in movies, is the plot holes. I hate plot holes. I hate characters that go out of character as well. Both of these issues are far, far, far too common in fiction these days. Movies, episodic series, books, television shows, all have these problems by the ship load. They’re also predictable. Extremely predictable if they’re either politically correct signalling of the creator’s fake “virtue”, or stick with what’s on the TV Tropes website.

How to avoid the plot holes? Well, if you plot a story from the start but have an end in mind, you’ll find it almost impossible to avoid plot holes. You’ll skip right on pass glaring plot holes the size of the Valles Marineris without noticing until the novel’s story has been turned into a movie. Really, genuinely, HUGE plot holes like the aliens in “Signs” killed by water (one of the most common substances in the Universe) but deciding it would be a good idea to invade a planet covered 70% with water and having rain.
Plotting backwards….

So how about starting your plot writing with the END OF THE STORY? Go backwards, working out the requirements as a bullet point list (numbered) for each section of the plot. Badguy has to die, so what can kill the badguy? List that. Then list how to get those things – and what those things will require to happen or be obtained. Then go the next step, and how do those things get done, found, whatever… The heroes need stuff to kill the bad guy, but you already know what does that job, so how do the heroes get that stuff? Then how the stuff got to be there, and how the heroes discover that they need it. Then why the heroes became heroes in the first place…. what got them there and wanting to do this hero stuff? Followed by what set that up… and so on.

By the time you finish that, you have a plot from the End to the Beginning starting to form. All numbered, easy to find. But you don’t know the sequence of events yet, and you don’t really need to know exactly. You just know that the heroes first have to get motivated, and you’ll know how that happens… and you can start writing forwards, with the heroes and villains each getting their stuff that they need for the next step.

I add extra complexities before I start writing though. Wrong ways and red herrings and why they exist are detailed. And I list why these wrong ways are useful later in the story because they’re learning experiences, and maybe not really wrong ways at all. I write down ideas that seem cool, and then work out how those situations are there, and what leads to that, and what leads to that. Backwards again.

Then when I’m writing forwards, I don’t treat the Grand Plot like a railway line. It’s a bullet list at each stage of what’s needed to happen, it doesn’t say “How” it happens, only listing what’s needed to be acquired by the heroes, etc…. which won’t have a plot hole because all of those things will already be known as to how they got there, why the heroes needed them, etc… In this way, I can write by the seat of my pants, character driven, and I actually don’t have a clue how the journey will go – so it never becomes boring. I also don’t know exactly how the story ends, not until I get there, despite having a bullet list of that Ending’s requirements. I won’t know how it happens until my characters get there. The story stays fun for me to write.