Sorry about that, but you do ask the difficult questions.
Define “plotting or storyline categories”.
Do you mean you feel you write scenes well but ‘lose it’ when you come to plot complexity? Or do you have good ideas but can't write the scenes well?
Do you normally write a story from scratch right through until the climax? or do you first come up with a rough plot outline and then write?
Or are you simply frustrated with trying to come up with something original?
“To return to thoughts about my own artistic deficit, since I lack creativity I have to substitute education and a very wide and eclectic study habit for originality. This irritates me no end, but there's nothing else I can do about it. I can train myself to fake enough aspects of creativity to get by, but no amount of study will generate real creativity. You are either born with that element or you are not.”
If you asnwered yes to the last question before the quote above… maybe you simply have not found something to be passionate enough about to write a story for it.
Plotting is fairly easy to define. It's the central big problem and can be surrounded by other, slightly less dominating big problems, depending on how complex the author wants to make the storyline. So protagonist against nature or protagonist against leering antagonist. Plotting also includes motivation, if any. It's pretty much what the work of fiction is about.
Storyline is far more difficult to define, mainly because it is a catch-all term and one not necessarily embraced, as a legitimate one, by all scholars of storytelling. So I'll offer up my own rule of thumb definition. It's the background information making up the rules, the texture, the time from of the world – originally I was going to be a science fiction novelist. Now tacked on that is the precise nature of the protagonist, support group, average citizens and the antagonist and support group, if any. To an extent, I think of storyline as the nuances draped over and threaded through the hard kernel of the plot. Sotryline would be the unique particulars that give the plot its particular flavoring.
Now the above is from the perspective of a novelist of - at least - fantasy work, and so it is broader in nature than would be required for something existing in a known reality environment, such as the author of a contemporary mainstream mystery novel. So far, it seems to translate one for one to cartooning, if there exists a plot and storyline, that is.
Now to actually try and bring this to a meaningful conclusion, it's the storyline, the environment and what its nature that gives me mucho frustration, not the plotting. This is because there are only about thirty five or so possible plots. Whether they know it or not every fictioneer, regardless of medium of expression, utilizes some minor variation of known plots.
I used to disagree with the universality of plots, by the way, and then gradually came to the grudging conclusion that, by golly, the assertion was correct.
One can have original storylines but not original plots.
As for the creativity aspect I have a library of ‘how to’ books and have at one time or another utilized just about every suggestion for imbuing originality in my fiction. Unfortunately the ones that offer the greatest freedom leave my hopelessly adrift in a sea of random possibilities. The ones that narrow down the options to a range that works for me, puts me back to producing derivative works.
After thirty years of gradually learning how to ‘do’ every aspect of fiction writing, except be original, I finally conceded that some fundamental and innate trait required for producing original work in the field of fantasy novels, I am lacking.
On the other hand, in all other respects I did teach myself to become one hell of a good writer.
So what's this got to do with cartooning? For whatever reason I can live with my creativity deficit when it comes to cartooning. This may simply be due to the fact that cartooning is a dual storytelling process; it relies on both word-based and visual storytelling to get the job done. For whatever reason I do seem to be creatively adequate in the visual aspects of cartooning. Go figure.