I think I have a plot.
As I’ve previously documented, in order to fix a plot problem with the novel I’ve had to do some serious updating to my writer toolbox to improve my plotting skills.  And worried that this process might kill the fun out of writing a novel, I’ve tried it out on a brand new idea.  The plan is that, if it works then I have a plotted novel sitting there ready for when I have time to write it.

And to be honest, I think it has worked.  I spent a lot of Friday evening moving cards around and then shouting at myself when X couldn’t happen yet because Y did not know about Z.  But, after a lot of shuffling I seem to have made the end stronger.
The weakness I identified myself is in middles, usually typified by a story card saying “stuff happens” and filling those cards have been the most difficult part of the process.  What I’m now left with is something that feels a bit quick in the middle but better that the plot moves on than it just sits and wallows.  That’s what caused this problem in the first place.  I have an idea as to the why but I probably need to mentally unpack some things to gain better insight before I’m able to blog about it.
I’ve left the plot a couple of days, returning to look on it with fresh eyes, and you know what, it seems to work.  I’m pleased, if for no other reason than to make sure this hasn’t been a wasted exercise.
I estimate that it’s taken about a month to take this from an initial idea to a concrete plot, with the main part of the plotting taking about three weeks, one of those which I think eliminated through practise and experience (I spent most of that week ‘stuck’).
So the next stage is to now apply this to the current novel, and whilst that plot is about as complete as the test plot was about a week ago, I’m going to give myself a few weeks.
What I’ll be interested to see is whether this new process changes two things.  Does it make me write faster?  And more specifically, does it make the writing faster on those difficult days when words feel like treacle?
Writing – it never gets easier, if anything it just gets harder