I never considered myself much of a plotter. The word "outline" brought up visions of high school English and Roman Numerals, and those memories were enough to send me running in the opposite direction. I proclaimed myself a panster and reveled in the freedom of flee flowing words... that went nowhere.
I have finally admitted, my pansting is the reason I have way too many half finished stories begging for attention. The reason I spend hours writing, yet take years to produce a single work. Well, that, and my full time job, raising two kids, etc. Come to realize, it's exactly because I have limited time pansting isn't working.
Since I tend to look at things academically, I started to research plots and plotting and found as many different methods as there are genres of literature. Everyone has an approach and it has lead me to believe it's highly individual and one shouldn't rely simply upon adapting a single method.
For me, I had started doing what made sense to me... Once I had an idea, I wrote what I imagined to be the back blurb of my story. Then started expanding and expanding upon this, filling in details with each expansion, until I had my characters fleshed out a bit and part of the plot. Still there was something holding it back from being truly useful.
Then I came upon the Snowflake Method and a light bulb went off. It has the basis of what I had done on my own, but it's a far more orgaized method focused on character and plot in a useful format. It also goes beyond the free flow of ideas and takes it a step further into plotting scenes. I'm not going to go through all the details (I don't think that's legal!), but if you're interested, I suggest you check it out here.
Anyway, the point is, if you're a panster struggling with direction in your story, struggling because your conflict isn't strong enough, I'd suggest you try fleshing out your story in a manner comfortable to you. Find what works and finish that book. 😘
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