Ever have this particular problem? You decide to write a story (or if you're into poetry, a poem) so at the beginning, you have a basic idea of what the plot is. You're merrily plugging away, when all of a sudden (but not really because it quietly snuck up and whacked you in the head with a two by four) you can't remember what the plot line is. It was crystal clear when you started, but about four pages in, it quickly becomes clear as mud, and you have no idea what to do next.
But you really don't want to throw the story away, especially since it showed such promise at the beginning, so you continue to write in the (usually futile) hope of finding it again. More often than not, the plot remains frustratingly out of reach.
Much to my chagrin (and constant annoyance), I have apparently picked up the nasty habit of losing the plot to a given story when I write it. Which is to say, I know what the plot is when I first start writing the story, but somewhere along the way, I lose focus and the plot vanishes like a bottle of cheap wine drunk by an alcoholic.
A prime example of this aggravation was the short story I did for FSG called Image. The original plot was about revenge (as a matter of fact, I used this particular post as a starting point), but being of unsound mind, I decided to throw a wrench into the works. I approached the plot from the back door, which is to say that I had the protagonist summon a demon/spirit from Hell, and have them use the body of his target in order to ruin the sterling reputation of his target.
So it started off okay. I had the demon/spirit take over the body of the victim and leave only the heavily sedated head behind. Somewhere along the way though, I lost the plot when I decided to turn the tables on the protagonist. If I kept to the same linear plot of revenge, I think it would have worked out to my satisfaction. But since I decided to change mid-stream, I got completely lost on how to make it work. It took me the better part of one week plus the long Thanksgiving holiday/furlough weekend to get all the kinks worked out (wrote 16 pages over that weekend) and thus finish the story*.
*synopsis: Kevin looks to get revenge on his co-worker Keisha and make her his girlfriend. He finds out through nefarious means that Alanna was an escapee from Purgatory, and blackmails her into doing a job on Keisha's reputation. Alanna, with the help of Michael and Raphael, attempts to turn the tables on Kevin and along the way, tries to redeem herself and save Keisha.
The question I pose to you the reader is this: Have you ever lost the plot to a story that you were writing, simply because you decided to tweak it one too many times, thus permanently ruining the story? Or even worse, not remember what the original plot was to begin with?
If you don't write, but say play music, then the question would be this: Have you ever gotten lost while playing or performing a song and not remember how to get back on track to where you were originally?