I have always wanted to write a book but have never actually taken the time to do so. There are many things that hold me back but one of them is that I often come up with story lines in my mind. As I am processing them in my thoughts I think of different routes that the story can take. I then seem to reach a standstill as I cannot decide which plot route would be best. I then just stop trying to figure out the rest of the plot. What are some techniques that I can use to narrow down which plot direction to take? Or do I just randomly choose one?

  • 2
    I like to just write. These days, it's called discovery writing or pantsing. Your random story threads will find a place, trust me. Still, you should have at least some idea of where you want to start and where you want to finish, but even that's not essential. Pick a protagonist and place said person onto page 1 somewhere. The rest just might, if you have the fortitude and inspiration, fall into place. Good luck!
    – Stu W
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 23:51
  • heh, pantsing means something completely different here
    – user18397
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 1:25

2 Answers 2


Sketch out both (or multiple) ideas as fully-fleshed plots from beginning to end. Get all your separate possibilities down on paper.

  • Put everything aside for a week. Come back to them and re-read them. See if any one jumps out at you.
  • Give your multiple outlines to friends and see if any one is particularly popular.
  • Write a series of short stories playing on the very idea that this is the same plot with multiple endings.
  • Write a literal Choose Your Own Adventure book. If you can't decide, let the reader do it.

Choose the plot direction that makes the most sense for your characters. Who are they and what actions make the most sense for them? (Some folks start writing characters and let the plot emerge naturally from their actions.)

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