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July 15, 2015

One of my earliest articles was called Coming Up With A Plot. I wrote it back in December, 2011. I’ve often thought about plotting and inspiration and what some people go through to try to be different.


There’s been analyses done, ad-nauseum on the intricacies of plotting, and someone came up with a list, a chart, a something on how many plots there are. I think a someone, or someones even devised a wheel you could spin to pick a plot path based on the basics and a few random variables.

There are only those basic plots and the only thing you, as an author can do, is vary how you use them. You can mix them up a bit, and that’s about it.


When I reach for my polka-dot sewer, do any of you think the first thing I worry about is the old handy plot matrix?

Are you kidding?


I see the problem with plotting is that some people get bored with seeing the same plots. That’s especially true with a series and genres. Writers are the same way. “I’m bored. I want something different!”

Hence, the plot matrix.


The way I look at it is like this. If I have to force myself to use a plot matrix, just to be different, then lose my inspiration just so someone isn’t bored – if I have to lose my voice to pander to someone who will probably be bored anyway, why bother?

On the other hand, this matrix technique might be the perfect spark someone needs to inspire them. We all work in different ways and while it quashes my inspiration, it might be the spark to help another writer create the best thing they’ve ever written.

I’d say look into the plot matrixes and don’t just dismiss them right off. See if they’re something you can use. They obviously work for some people. If not, at least they’re a great exercise to help hone your chops.

For me, they’re a spirit-quashing tool that reeks of outlining, but I’m not everyone.


If you’ve read any of my other articles, you know how I work. If not, I’ll repeat: I know where I want to start and where I want to end. Everything in the middle is a total surprise. My plots develop from that. The last thing I want to do is pre-analyze, outline or in any other way, suck the life right out of my inspiration (polka-dot sewer). I leave that for the more analytical crowd.

I’m not that mercenary in my approach. I write because I love to, and I do it for myself, first and foremost. For example, I’m having a blast writing this article.

You have to follow your muse and if plot matrixes are for you, there’s plenty of literature out there. I urge you to at least check them out to see if they’ll either help or hinder you.

Happy writing!

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