Thursday, April 24, 2014

Q& A: How much Plotting?

 Q: I have a sad tendency to get caught up in trying hard to get words written in the NOW, and I
forget to figure out the plot, so that I eventually end up lost in a mess of wilderness with no idea what to do next.
  Do you plot your stories or do you figure out as you go?

A:  I guess I kind of do both... I generally let an idea sit in my head for a little while before I even begin
on it, so I do tend to have a general idea of where it might be going. Then when I start to write, I have a long talk with my sis, (or else a long think with myself!) and get a few plot points decided on, so they act as sort of towns on a map. We may have several options of roads to get there on, and may end up discovering new trails along the way, but the town keeps us moving in the right direction.
 Does that make any sense?

 But I totally cannot outline every scene and every sentence and then go back through and "add descriptions" or whatever. It's got to be much more organic than that, and kind of be allowed to grow up out of the bed of my imagination in all it's viney, leafy gloriousness.

So, I do a bit of both!

   I really understand the feeling you're describing of getting lost in the woods, and having none of the trails line up with each other at all! I've spent my fair share of days in that literary morass and it really stinks to have so many beautiful scenes that are at total odds with each other, and there is no possible way to make them agree! That is a super frustrating experience, so I now go with the "loosely mapped" plot lines... and it really helps!

  (Which reminds me, I'm going to do a post on my "plotting arc" design.)

   So... did that explanation make any sense?


Anonymous said...

Hi Elizabeth,
so here's what I think and you did make sense.
I think that even before you write (or do) anything, you have a purpose, an intended outcome.
That is the whole reason.
It helps if this is written up on a piece of paper on the wall, as a reminder of the whole purpose.

Lets say the purpose is to write something that uplifts people, or speaks to some need in present society. This then is the purpose.
Regardless of what we think of Shakespeare, his works were directed with purpose, they spoke of the human condition and its foibles, which causes us to look at ourselves.
So I ask, what are you writing for? What purpose greater than your self are you doing it for?

If there is conscious purpose, then that purpose is the end of the writing, and all roads, (all plots) are designed to fulfil the purpose. The purpose is never lost sight of.
I find this to be helpful always. I often write on a historical situation or statement. I then can get lost in my investigations of the matter or statement, but by returning to the original purpose, (to find out the truth about that matter or statement) I get back on track.
Just some thoughts.

E. Kaiser Writes said...

Thanks for your thoughts, BB! Glad my explanation came across clearly enough!

Yes, it can be really easy to get lost in research... and that part of things is so much fun!
Especially when writing on a historical "snapshot"... there are so many side facts that may have bearing on the event, and yet you can't include everything! Hard decisions, hard decisions. :-)

Thanks for commenting!