Plotting and other catastrophes

Hi everybody,

from what I’ve written so far about the RWA conference, you might have gotten the impression that I somehow managed to collapse on Thursday evening and missed the rest of the conference. I can assure you that this is not the case. I’m just so busy trying to finish the next book, that at the moment I don’t have time to report more magical Reno adventures. But never fear, I’ve got more to tell! :O)

But for now, let’s talk about plotting.


Plotting a novel can be a bit tricky.

I mean, you start with this rather nice story (well, at least you yourself think it’s nice), start writing it — and then somebody tells you that the setting you’ve chosen is a complete and absolute no-no.

Duh. (That brought about a horrible case of mid-book blues while I was still only in the middle of chapter 3.)

Okay, then you somehow talk yourself out of the little problem with the setting. (Hey, it’s the BLACK FOREST! I mean, it’s romantic, it’s gothic, it totally FITS the story! Ha!) (Besides, people seem to really like the idea.) So you happily go on writing — and bam! the next scene you’re working on takes a totally different turn from what you’ve planned.

Duh. Will you go back to rewrite it? Or will you go on with the flow?

You spend the next few days … uhm … weeks debating this issue with yourself.

So you decide to go with the flow (as one of my friends once told me, it’s a good idea to listen to your subconscious) (uhm … did I talk about the unconscious in any earlier posts??? Drat!). You happily go on writing.

But wait! Now the other scenes you’ve planned don’t quite fit anymore!


You spend the next few days trying to come up with a solution to this problem.

Okay, so you’ve solved that particular problem — well, in a way –, and happily go on writing. Then another round of self-doubt hits. You know, the part where you think you’re the worst writer on the whole wide earth and you will never manage to finish that dratted book and it’s a stupid story anyway and everybody will hate the setting and what you do to your hero isn’t particularily typical for a romance either.


You spent the next few days …. weeks eating lots of chocolate until you finally overcome this crisis, too. So you happily go on writing. Right. Then it occurs to you that one of the important secondary characters is still nameless.


You spend a whole day leaving through your assorted books of first names in order to find a perfect name for this particular character. (No, you can’t name him Alex. There was already an Alex in your last novel, if you remember!) To make things more complicated you also need a second name from Nordic mythology. You finally come up with something. It’s not perfect, granted, but by that time you’re desperate. So you go for Loki Leopold (Yes, I already said it’s not perfect…) and happily go on writing. (At this stage, though, the “happily” part is already somewhat debatable.) Anyway, now you mentally prepare yourself for — the marriage! Yeah! But wait! One of your protagonists is Catholic. The other Anglican. That might be a problem, right?


Doesn’t matter, you go on writing, for, to make matters worse, you’ve given yourself a totally impossible deadline, thank you very much, so you better get your butt into this chair and move your finger over the fricking keyboard! So you go on writing. And then it suddenly occurs to you — and mind you, this happens after you’ve worked with this story for MONTHS! — that your heroine is residing in the same castle as the hero — UNCHAPERONED!!!!!

Argh! Argh! Argh!

You hit your head against the nearest wall.

And panic.

Your story has just folded down. For, of course, she cannot spend the night — several nights, in fact — under the same roof as the hero with just the servants present. Gargh! For of course, your lovely heroine would be immediately ruined forever after.

Argh! Argh! Argh!

You spend the next few days in a total panic.

Then in the middle of the night — because you no longer sleep properly, of course — inspiration strikes! Heureka! You just take that other secondary character which you dropped off in Baden-Baden on the way to the Black Forest and get her to the Black Forest, too.

Unfortunately this means that the character of your book will change slightly, for she’s a rather merry secondary character, and merry secondary characters do nothing for darkness. Heck, it doesn’t matter, you’ve set yourself this stupid deadline, remember? So what you’re waiting for? Just WRITE!

You write.

Then inspiration strikes a second time: why does the heroine need to be Anglican, anyway? She’s going to be Catholic and her ancestor was executed under Cromwell as a royalist. (Will make nice, bloody anecdote in novel.) (Bloody is good when you’re supposed to write a dark novel.) YES! Marriage-problem happily solved!

So actually, now your problem is that deadline.

Well, at the moment.

Who knows what will happen tomorrow? Perhaps your hero drops of the tower of the castle. Or your heroine runs away with the stableboy.


That’s plotting a novel for you.

2 thoughts on “Plotting and other catastrophes

  1. Silvana



    LOL!! LOL!! LOL!!!

    Oh god…!! I was laughing so much with this post, Sandra! I can totally understand how you feel!

    Unchaperoned!!! HAHAHAHAHHAHAHA (Still laughing on that one… It’s just so d*** good!!!!) HAHAHAHAHA

  2. Sandra Schwab

    *LOL* Yes, just imagine: you’ve been running around with this story in your head for months — and four weeks before your self-imposed deadline it suddenly occurs to you that your story has this really, really BIG flaw … Duh!

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