I am in the midst of being in a writing challenge for Book in a Week. Each month for a week at a time, this organization offers a challenge for writers to set their own writing goals, which are posted. Each day, everyone who has joined for that week, can post their output for the day.
I have decided to shoot for 10 pages a day. Unfortunately, I am running out of plot ideas, and it is difficult to keep going without a plot in sight, so I'll be skipping to WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL: THE WORKBOOK by Donald Maass (Writers Digest Books, 2004) for the plotting help that I need right now. There are many books that discuss plotting in a linear way, considering the three-act structure, but this doesn't work well for me. Maass's book is unique in talking about plotting from other standpoints. (I will return to Carolyn Wheat's book after Maass's book.)
The first exercise I'm choosing is "building plot players" (chapter 15, pps. 93-98) in which Maass asks a series of questions of questions about the problems the protagonist must solve and ends with suggesting that for each layer (problem) that you list and develop at least 4 scenes in which this problems plays itself out. (Maass prefers that I not write out his exercises; as an aside, I write to the authors of books I plan to use and get their permission ahead of time.)