I have no real idea how to plot a story. I think that's why I like flash fiction. It isn't hard to keep the plot of a 300 word story straight in your head while writing it. But a novel. . .? Umm. . . I don't think I can handle that.
There's the three act structure, which never really helped me because I still didn't quite get how to move from one part to the next. A third of a novel is still really huge. On the Writing Excuses podcast, Dan Wells mentioned he uses a 7 point story structure. I had never heard of this. My friend Amanda beat me to this post, and found a wonderful video of him explaining how it works, and you can see it over at her blog. Plus she says nice things about me there, so you should go read that.
I had a lot of fun writing out the 7 points for my novel-in-progress, and it really helped me see where I was going astray and why I was flailing around at certain points. And because it's a simple, almost mini-outline, it was much easier to figure out how to fix than a huge manuscript. It was exactly what I needed. I'm going to work on subplots next, and research a little, and then maybe, just maybe, I'll actually finish a novel!
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