Every writer has their strengths and weaknesses. Some of us are fantastic at dialogue or description, another is a great plotter, still another might be the royalty of research.
My strength is totally in dialogue and totally NOT in plotting.
And as a result, I sometimes have to go back and cut lots and lots of words after I talk myself into a corner storyline-wise. Those cuts hurt.
So, here are some quick, easy and practical ways to work on your plots - even if you are a plot-as-you-go type like I am. These work best if you brew a pot of coffee or a sweet tea first. Just speaking from experience here.
* Start with a very loose outline of what you want to accomplish. It can even be as loose as something like Girl loses job, Girl gets new one; or, Girl is lonely, Girl meets guy.
* Keep a record of what has happened in the story - at least the major points. That way, you aren't repeating yourself later.
* Figure out the ending early and keep it in mind as you write. You don't need all the details, just a loose ending or a loose understanding of where you want the character development to be by the end of the book.
* Every main character should learn something or grow in some way by the end of their story. How is your character going to change? Keep this in mind as you write.
* Have fun and don't be scared to be spontaneous. If your character is taking the story in a direction that you didn't see coming, don't be afraid to explore the possibility of that direction.
How do you plot your stories?