Wednesday 27 March 2013

Writing, a double post: Your plots and your Internets

Neither of these points currently merits its own posts, so I decided to squidge them into one.

First of all, your Internets. There are a lot of brilliantissimo writing-y blogs and websites out there. To name just a few that I follow:
This is all well and good and helpful... but beware, my little minions. I e-mail followed maybe six or seven blogs. I now spend an hour reading my e-mails. Now, that isn't really helpful when you're trying to get stuff done, so beware. You can learn how to be a good writer all you want, but if you never put that into practice...
Just a word of warning to the wise.

And now onto plotting. Unfortunately, I've already given you a link to the wonderful Liam, who has basically explained all the things that I might want to say about plotting before.
Let's go with it anyway.
I've always hated plotting. I like my characters to drive, and they can't exactly do that when they have to work to a given point -- if they don't have free will -- right?
Wrong. Or at least, I think so.
Because it depends on what you mean by plotting. At writer's group lately, we have plotted and tried to write a short story as so:
  1. What is the spark that starts the story off?
  2. What is the main character's motive?
  3. What's the obstacle to this motive or goal?
  4. What's the first thing to go wrong?
  5. Where's the point of no return, where it looks like there's no way out?
  6. How do they get out of it?
  7. Now tie up those loose ends.
Or something like that. It might seem like a lot of things to get sorted, but that doesn't mean that your story is done, dusted, told and explained, oh no. Because, not only can you change these things if you want to, this isn't the story. It's just the plot, and one plot can be told a thousand times in a thousand different ways, especially if it's character-based. You need an example? --sigh-- Okay. Let's say I'm writing a short story about a guy who finds out that his uncle killed his father for his crown and this guy plots to kill that uncle. Basically, I'm writing Hamlet, yes? No. My Hamlet could be a girl instead of a guy. She could be sassy instead of moody. Her mother could have been in on the whole thing. The uncle could be a much nicer dude than the dad.
 You get the point. My story could be almost unrecognisable from the original but still use the same plot. Hurrah! The story might be plotted, but that don't mean it's been written yet, sistah.
I apologise from the random faux-US-style-language. I don't know what came over me.
 So that story hasn't been written yet. But maybe you're scared of jumping in quite so close to the deep end. Maybe you've got a series planned out, like I have, and you've got stories where the beginings and endings have to fit together, but no more. Does that count as plotting? And is it possible to do?
 From my experience, I would say no. I've been trying to write a series where each book gets to a certain end. The only book I have finished that has done what I've told it to is the first book, and I only found the ending mid-way through in a flash of inspiration. I've tried writing all five other books, but they just... they basically die half way through. So, if I were you, and I was going to plot, I'd try to plot out more than the beginning and the end. It seems like the middle actually seems to matter.

 I think that's all the 'wisdom' I've got to share with you. Thanks, and comment if you've got something to say (*facepalm* duh, Chaz, your readers aren't idiotic enough to not know why people comment on posts...

...are they?)

Writer out!

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