I've been reading plotting books. I'm more on the seat-of-the-pants side of the equation when it comes to writing, but well, things happen. After my mom died, I wasn't able to even hear my characters much for a really, really long time. The voices finally came back, but the part of my brain that worked out the plot hasn't returned and it's frustrating.
My solution was to read plotting books. Surely, something would spark me again. And then I read things like pivot point and pinch point and my head starts to hurt.
It boggles my mind and it leaves me wondering how a plotter's brain works. Someone should hook plotters and pantsers up to an MRI machine (Okay, I know you don't get "hooked up to an MRI machine," but go with me here) and figure out what makes us so different from each other.
Pivot and pinch points? My characters go on strike every time I write them doing something they don't want to do and I'm supposed to know ahead of time what problems arise in the story? Really? Gah!
I never wanted to be a full-fledged plotter, but I would like to have more of an idea which direction a story is going than I usually have. (And usual is a lot more than I currently have. I know grief doesn't go away overnight, but I need my small amount of plotter head space back.) I just don't want to know everything. I don't want to be stuck sweating out what the hell is a pinch and what's a pivot.
It isn't that the books didn't do a good job explaining these things, it's just that my train doesn't run on those tracks.
My answer to this? Buy more plotting books. Surely something will click.