Here’s a great piece about plot-building from editor supreme, Teresa Nielsen Hayden: The Evil Overlord Devises A Plot. The article was written twelve years ago but hasn’t dated at all. It’s specifically for writers of science fiction: some of us might have trouble translating the plot devices into our preferred genre, but it still gives a lot of excellent advice and I could play with it for days. It’s an incredibly useful writers’ tool and a built-it-yourself role-playing game all at once.
I particularly like this bit:
Did I hear someone murmur that this is overkill?
OF COURSE IT’S OVERKILL!
Overkill is good for you! And if your stories start getting too exciting, we’ll let you know. But so what if they do? It’s a hell of a lot easier to remove some plot from a story that has too much of it than to try to fix a dreary story that doesn’t have enough.
Remember that. Now get plotting.