June Round Robin Blog Fest


Welcome back to yet another fascinating installment of our blog fest!

At this time of year, I'm trying to spend weekends up at the lake away from technology--HA!!!--as if that ever works. But I'm happy to join in to answer this month's burning question:

In your writing how do you recognize and overcome plot problems or failures?

If you're a writer of any sort of genre, chances are  you've had a plot problem. Particularly for those of us who don't outline but let the story and characters take us where they want to go. Recognizing these "creative challenges" sometimes take the eye of a beta reader or an editor because writers can become so close to their work they don't read the actual words on the page but their brains substitute in the words that should be there. Which is why a lot of people have a tough time to self-edit.

This year, I'm training to become a Book Coach. Yup, that's a real thing! How cool, right? In my very first practicum, my client said that, since he's a pantser, he has a hard time remembering details and incidents from earlier chapters. That's one of the simplest ways for a plot problem to rear up.

I had a few suggestions for him:

  • Keep an open Word page so at the end of each chapter he can make the necessary notes about key characters and information for following chapters. In effect creating a step by step outline, but while he writes.
  • Sticky notes!! I love using sticky notes in the same way and used this method for All That Shines. Writing down my outline and putting those notes in book order on a posterboard on my wall enables you to see the whole book plotline by plotline. I can take it down if I need to, but the information I need for further chapters is laid out in such a way I can just look up and find what I need.
  • There's a great device we use in book coaching called the Inside Outline. Basically, making note of each scene then the point behind the scene. If there is no point to the scene, take it out if it doesn't drive the story forward.
Finding the plot issues is one thing. Fixing them...
Sometimes, like with one of my books that is back from a fresh edit, it takes a minor adjustment at the beginning of the book, to make the plot work. Because I had added a scene at the beginning of the book and didn't follow through to the rest of the book, the plot line had holes. Happily, all I have to do is soften the new scene to make it work.

Sometimes plot problems can be fixed during editing with just a few changes throughout the manuscript. Other times, the fix must be made much deeper to the story's structure.

Having some form of an outline can help you identify problems by seeing yours story structure whether it be with a synopsis, an outline, or sticky notes on a posterboard. I'd highly recommend using whichever way works best for you.

Watch for the pre-release of my newest novella Dead Without Remorse coming July 1st with a release date of August 1st! Gilda Wright is at it again! This novella takes us back in time to when the former Yoshida Martial Arts building is destroyed and a man found dead inside.

I got to do a fun radio interview for my new book All That Shines, you can listen here:  https://shows.acast.com/houseofmysteryradio/episodes/diane-bator-all-that-shines

Have fun seeing how our other amazing authors overcome their plot problems!

Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/

Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea

Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/

Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/

Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/

Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/

Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-2lz

Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com


  1. Book Coach Diane, your comment on reading (as the author) what you believe is written and not the actual words is so true! I find I do it frequently. Also I found your comment about reviewing the purpose of a scene, and if there isn't one to take it out to be very good advice (for me)!

  2. I'm a pantser and I keep track of details with a separate file for every book or series that Outlines all my characters and shops, map details etc.

  3. I’m a pantser. i do not keep track of details. I generally just go back and do some reading. Somehow, though, my brain does its part with some pretty incredible results, as if some part of myself is more intelligent than my conscious brain. (Okay, there’s no question about that. LOL)

    I think it’s cook you’re training to be a book coach. I hope you find it enjoyable.

  4. Just because there is no written-down plot before we start to write doesn't mean there is no plot. Making it explicit after writing, as you describe, is an excellent safety device.

  5. Congrats on becoming a Book Coach. And good o post. I liked the idea of having some form of an outline.

  6. Greast post, Diane. I, too, am a pantser and am currently re-writing early chapters and inserting those words that lie in my head but not on the page. Ah, well! Anne


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