Remember learning to ride a bike? The hardest part was getting started. Once you picked up speed, balance was easier, and as long as you pedaled you'd stay upright. Plot works the same way, at least for me.
Once I'm on the plot train, I stay on. At the end of every scene, I play the "what happens next?" game, and usually I can keep my characters driving the action and tension forward.
But it's getting on, or rather finding a plot, that I struggle with.
I've read books on plot, I've read countless blog posts, I've diagrammed plots, my own and others'. I get that a main character needs to have a problem, or want something. But it's getting from that character's desire to a plot that confuses me. What if their desire is unobtainable? Why can't the character just give up and go back to bed? What needs to happen to constitute a plot?
It reminds me of the underpants gnomes in South Park:
Phase 1: Collect underpants.
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Profit
Voice I can do, characters I love, setting is fun, but when it comes to plot, it seems there's a hole in my brain. Even explaining this has been a challenge!
What about you? What writing problems trip you up every time?
Oh, and any plot tips?