Plotting my downfall. Sorry, plotting is my downfall. However much I try and do it in advance, I inevitably find some rather large holes in it. This is annoying because I love police drama and thrillers and whodunits, and pride myself on my ability to spot an inconsistency or loophole. I suppose the benefit is that at least I realise my plot is wrong.
Because it happens all the time, I do have various methods to try and sort it. The first is to write a 1,000 prose summary of the plot. It needs to be quite detailed, as if it’s too high level those pesky problematic plot points can hide. This works quite well for an odd inconsistency but if it’s more than that it’s just an annoying exercise, showing what I already know (or don’t know).
If the plot is stuck, I sometimes just write through it and see what happens next. In ‘Back in the Game’ (a screenplay I’m writing now), I didn’t know where to go next. Skimming back over what I’d written, I felt that I had too many internal scenes and it needed a bit more fresh air. I wrote one of the main characters into a street market. What’s she doing there? Following someone. Ok, who? Um, why not the sister of another character (Marina)… Hey, that works, in the ensuing conversation she can round out Marina’s character more and move us onwards.
However in this particular instance, all that showed me was that I didn’t know Marina’s character well enough, and it’s her actions that are key to the plot. Returning to that is helping – working through more of what made her tick and how she would behave in certain situations. Now I’m going to return to her husband’s character and work out the conflict between them. I’m really hoping that’s going to get over this particular hurdle. From past experience, the final plot may end up having some differences but at least I’ll have moved along the road and I’ll be in a new place.