I have plotters block

I have plotters block. It’s the same as writers block but im not writing im trying to plot my NanoWrimo story but my brain ONLY SEEMS TO FEED ON CHOAS. When im working/going to school and tending to a toddler I seem to want to do nothing but write. Deadline coming? Lab needs to be done? In a meeting? Write write write but now I have a week vacation from it all and im on day 2 and can’t Plot. I need to plot. One simply can not Wrimo without plotting so what do you do when you just… Can’t.

Not doing it is not an option so no “Take a break and come back” I need real solutions people and maybe tips on the best practices of plotting cause I usually just don’t.


Oh gosh that’s kind of how I’m feeling right now for my next book. I’ve been trying to plot it on and off for a month but nothing’s coming up - completely empathize with you. However, I don’t really have time to work through it until my WIP is done, which is where we’re opposites lol.

Usually what I do when I’m in this situation is brainstorm with a friend. 90% of the time we just end up goofing off, but the co-work of coming up with a story plot, even if it’s one I’ll never write because it’s absurd, gets my plot-brain working again. It’s a lot easier to actually dive in and be serious about a story plot once you get all the procrastination out and shake out the plotting muscles some.

Recently, my favorite way to plot has been really loose, so I don’t know if it’ll help you through NaNo. I label all of the chapters by what plot element will happen in them (ie. Inciting Incident, Victim to Warrior, Fun and Games, etc, etc.), and then I just note the chapter’s POV, Setting, Mood, Time, and the POV’s wants. I’ve always been someone who likes to discover the story as I write, so I work best when my outlines are simple.

Hopefully something in here helps :star2: and if you want a brainstorm buddy I can try to be one for you.

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I’ve been doing this too! I’m stuck on the end after a twist. I want this to be a stand alone but it’s trying to become a series and no one has time for that.

If it’s not trouble :point_right:t4::point_left:t4::pleading_face: I literally know what I want (and what I don’t want) but it’s like okay HOW am I telling this story. I wanted to avoid flashbacks but if i don’t im telling a 7 year long story without a reason for the reader to care.

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Sometimes I like to write up “scene tests” where I just write a scene in the book that I have in mind. Any scene, any part of the book. Might be worth a try.

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Can’t rules of Nanowrimo gotta be a fresh find. I have like the old version I had of it, but a tossed it and using it to plot. It’s like okay this is who everyone is kinda thing.

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I’m one of those people who have to write the first chapter before I can really sit down and plan. I’ve got to be able to feel the story…and see if it’s worth taking the time to plot. I almost always know the end of the story before I sit down to write. Sometimes it changes as side plots and better ideas come to me, but usually it’s pretty close to what I first imagined.

What works for me with plotting/planning is to start at the beginning and come up with what needs to happen in order to get me to the end. I usually get stuck about midway through. From there, I go to the end and ask myself what needed to happen to get me at that point…and I keep working backward until I meet that middle point.

But all of that only works if you know the ending of your story. If you don’t know the ending, I would just go by the old “What needs to happen next?”. You can include anything you want in your notes. ToriHope gave some excellent advice. I’ve had setting, things that needed to be said, what needs to happen, and which characters need to be present in my notes for the chapter. It just depends on what works for you.

Good luck!



Something that helped me last year was writing down the labels for each plot point in a timeline (along with how much of the story they should occupy). Then I inserted appropriate numbers of, or lengths of, scene summaries under these labels that carried me from one plot point to the next.

Set up, normal life, introduction of theme(s): (1-10%)
Catalyst (at 10%)
Response, deliberation, preparation (10-20%)
Act 2 threshold and intro to new world (20-25%)
Progressing toward goal (25-50%)
Turning point (at 50%)
Opposite-trajectory progress (50-75%)
Turn for the worse (at 75%)
Sulking and epiphany (75-80%)
Act 3 threshold and regrouping (80-85%)
Engaging the plan (85-99%)
Resolution and new norm (99-100%)

Fairly standard plot structure, but good characters and setting can cover it up nicely. I did my plotting like this over the last few days of October. So it wasn’t all at once, of course, but it also didn’t feel like too much of a chore with my focus so directed onto each subject.


I so know this feeling :joy: every one of my books tries to do this.

It’s no trouble at all! I’m free all day for the most part if you want to talk it out. Also, I’m someone who avoids writing flashbacks if I can, so I’m happy to try and work something out with you. Would you want to continue in the forum or through PM?

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I have that trouble for a few false starts, but it’s not because I can’t plot at all, but because there isn’t enough to what I have to really GET anywhere with it, and I’m really the type to throw things at them until they break–because I don’t often plot beforehand. Once I reach “Workshop!” stage, I usually just set it aside, especially if it’s not my main project.

But secure in knowing I don’t need to write what I’m about to throw at it, for others’ work?

Lay your ideas out, and I can throw things at it with little problem at all. I pretty much do that at @NotARussianBot at any time of the day–and I don’t expect anyone to take it and use it exactly like I lay it out.

It’s just more flesh to feed it out.


Thank you (Yes I don’t know the ending)

Oooo this is exciting

I always thought you were smarter than me but this proved it :eyes: I wouldn’t even know where to go with the percentages but I wana do this.

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Anything works for me. I did a chronological plot last night and it kinda helped im still stuck on this ending.

Biggest issue is idk the end. It’s only a month to write and im like idk the end.

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You could just blow everything up.

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I giggled :rofl:

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Well, if it’s that MC, and trying to give them an ending they deserve that is hard to figure out, then figure out what the most deserving of the other characters deserve, and if that includes the MC, then you have a better footing.

Bluntly, if writing me and my spouse out, they’ll relate to him more than me, so trying to find me deserving of my husband would be difficult for some readers to get on board with–him deserving a happy ending, that’s easier.

And no, that doesn’t bother me.

Basically, reward the best of the best, screw over the worst of the worst and if the MC is in the middle, figure out where they fit in that.

It’s ok to write a story with consequences.

Lol, don’t make me blush.

And you don’t have to hold too rigidly to those percentages btw. My act 1 only ended up around 15% because my protagonist was impulsive and didn’t have much of a deliberation/planning phase. I think I fixed it by stretching my intro to act 2 with an unplanned action scene (even with a full plot in front of me I can’t help pantsing a bit). So you have a bit of leeway here and there to get pacing back on track if needed. Especially if you stretch those bigger chunks like Progressing Toward a Goal, Opposite-Trajectory Progress, and Engaging the Plan (though I’d be wary of stretching act 3 longer than it needs to be; might fatigue the reader).

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But it does bring up a point: if the plot fizzles from 1 angle, you look at it from another.