Plot is not my strong point.

If you’re looking for beautifully written language, for characters with depth and knowledge and humanity, for a voice that’s all it’s own, I’m your girl.  But plot?  I’m terrible at twisting the threads of my character’s fates, at telling them where and when and how to move.  I can give them motivation, but I stink at placing obstacles in their way.

You remember how, in Sim City, you could chose to subject your city to earthquakes or fires or alien invasions?  I was the kid who always disabled that option.  I liked all my Sims.  I didn’t want to see them destroyed.

It’s the same with my characters. I don’t want to make them go through the Fire Swamp, falling into the quicksand and battling Rodents of Unusual Size.  I don’t want to put them into situations they can’t get out of themselves.

The result tends to be that scenes which should be filled with tension end too early.  In my current WIP, one of the characters goes into the forest, gets a little lost, but comes back half an hour later, unscathed, and with strawberries.  In the next draft, she’s going to disappear for more than thirty minutes, and there will definitely be Consequences.  Problem solved.

The harder thing to fix is that feeling of drag around the 2/3 point, right about when the bad guys should be starting to close in.   This happens in my current WIP.  Where there should be several chapters of nail-biting, page-turning, edge-of-the-seat tension, I end up with several chapters of world building instead.  My notes to myself, after I read back through this, were something along the lines of “WTF??”

Fear not, though.  I have a plan.  I’m going to create a page in my Scrivener for the novel titled “Very Bad Things.”  And I’m going to write down all the bad things that can happen to my characters.  All of them.  Everything from death to dismemberment to imprisonment to torture.  When I’m done, I should have enough disasters to keep the plot moving and the pages turning.

Whether my characters forgive me for it is another matter entirely.