So I honestly think I had a wonderful idea for a story--though plotless, the premise, setting(s), characters, and such were rather decent.
But by the time I had gotten around to 30k, I felt the story was bleh. The way I had written it was boring and just all around terrible. Then again this has been my first attempt at something larger than a short story, but still it's rather disappointing.
I've had that problem myself. I find my work stays more coherent when I use an outline and map out major plot points.
If you have trouble coming up with a plot and are more focused on your characters (or have them more developed, etc) then you can always try using them to generate a plot- consider what their motivations or goals/ driving force is- what makes them tick, what do they want out of life, etc. Perhaps two characters have the same goal- even if they're friends- and thus, they become rivals. Or perhaps they have conflict of interest or goals that oppose each other, or somehow get in each other's way. Or present them with a problem to solve (any type of problem- maybe tackle some social or controversial issue, make it something that one of your characters have to face or deal with.
Kind of the opposite.
Love writing short stories. You can get to the exciting plot quicker.
Doing this novel, I realized I instantly got the plot finished and over with around 30k because I was just craving that part ( I can skip around due to my story being chopped up into pieces ).
Now I'm struggling to make the characters really lovable for when the tragedies do occur. I felt as if it was just filler which really made me want to close my notepad and stop reading before the climax since it was just boring : /
Thankfully, I can owe it to the workshops to help me out for some. I feel like it's a game and those workshop chapters are like checkpoints or mini bosses getting ready for the big end game.
My tips for you is to just let the characters interact with the settings and with each other. Let them free and all you have to do is write their adventures like a biography.
Maybe every once and awhile, step into their lives and give them a corny problem that you might've heard from family members or are handling yourself.
I do hope that makes sense ^^"
I started with nearly the opposing here, and even though I hit a rough patch and nearly gave up with three days to spare, my story is really coming along. The plot is where it's at. I didn't stick to my original plot-- can't even figure out why I thought that was any good now-- but I had one and I slightly altered it until so far it's become great. The characters I had chosen originally aren't really all cast in the novel and most of the original have no importance since the time I changed my MC to the best friend instead. It's very wonderful what you can do with just a plot and some characters. I developed nearly a whole town and community around these people and I've added some very crucial people in the process of imagining my winter wonderland.
I experienced the same thing. I had the best story planned out! I got to about 14k before I realized it was crap. This is my first year doing nano, and I want to finish my story so badly! The only problem is, I don't know how to resurrect it. Best of luck to you~