Last night I was in an abyss of despair because I was certain that my plot was going to reach up through my intestines and strangle me from the inside out. Fortunately, 30 years of emotional overreaction has taught me that I can feel whatever I want, but I should be very careful not to believe or act on overly negative feelings. So, instead of sobbing or deleting files or throwing myself from the highest turret, I watched an episode of Doctor Who and went to bed. I felt a bit better in the morning.
Right before I started writing tonight, I read this article about inciting incidents. I loved it! It specifically answered my question: what if my inciting incident requires setup? Its answer was perfect: give the amount of setup you actually need and then punch the reader with the inciting incident. Then, I started reading Eric James Stone's Unforgettable, and I realized that he's got just such a situation. The inciting incident doesn't happen until about three chapters in because he's got to set up the story in order for the inciting incident to have meaning.
So, keeping those two things in mind, I started plotting again. This time I got through four scene sheets, and I think I'm starting to get the feel of how action and reaction play off each other. One thing that surprises me is how draining plotting is, despite the fact that I feel like I know where the plot is going. I can usually write for a good forty-five minutes before glancing at the clock, but tonight I was checking every five minutes. I'm starting to think that I either need to do my writing at two o'clock in the afternoon or take a serious caffeine jolt at 8 when the kids finally go down.
I've also noticed that reporting on whether I am a writer or a wannabee has a motivating effect. I really wanted to blow off writing tonight, but I couldn't bear the idea of admitting that I was a wannabee today. I did that once, and it sucked.
Tonight I was: a writer.