I've been obsessing about plot these last couple of years. You can catch a brief plot talk at Mitali Perkin's blog post Virtual Author Visit. She says she begins with a character, which is what I've done with a couple of manuscripts recently. Developing character seems like a good way to back into plot. Note also that she knows what's going to change for the character. That's an extremely helpful idea.
I read somewhere that it's a good idea to know the mid-point of your plot. I liked that, but knowing about a change seems even better.
Notice that Mitali doesn't say anything about conflict, nor does she say anything about giving her character something to want and then putting up roadblocks to getting it. She talks about change. That is so...dynamic.
Speaking of Mitali, I'll just mention here that I had a nightmare about her a few days ago. I was going to give a presentation at her house. (Which I've never seen, but who needs to actually see things in order to dream about them? Not me!) I hadn't given a presentation in years, this one was brand new, and I just did not know the material. Evidently I had to spend the night before the presentation at her house. When I got up the next morning, there were too many people there, and I couldn't get into the bathroom to get dressed before the audience started arriving for the presentation. Also, Mitali had a dog that got sick all over the place.
That is obviously a brand speaking new variation on two classic performance anxiety nightmares: 1. Caught at school in your pjs and 2. Exam morning and you haven't opened your textbook all semester.
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