Adventures in Plotting: Writing The Story


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The last step I took in looking at my plot was to see how *I* felt about it. It’s all well and good to churn out plot points and milestones, but if it’s not the story of your heart, the story you’re aching to tell, it won’t do you much good. All the structure and plotting in the world won’t help if you’re not excited about diving in. In fact, it might have the opposite effect.

Luckily, I’ve usually found that by the time I’ve plotted things out in this way, I can’t wait to get started. For good or bad, I’m not much one for character worksheets or planning out the minute details of world and description (Must be my subconscious rebelling against my plotting! *grin*). So as long as I have a couple of names, a basic idea of setting and my road map, I’m ready to dive in.

Now I’ll be honest. I know there are a lot of people out there who regard outlines as the devil, and think they squash creativity. I used to be one of them and I do understand where you’re coming from. I don’t claim this will work for everyone, or that everyone should follow this structure. But it’s worked for me, and I’ve become an outlining convert – but only if I use this sort of road map.

In one of my comments, Krista said that she outlines *after* she’s finished writing the first draft, though she does have a rough map of where she wants to go initially. I can totally see that working as well, especially if you’re a pantster. Write it first, outline it second when you feel like it won’t hurt your creativity. But I’m coming to the conclusion that in order to be successful, there are certain things you need to hit in your work, and that’s where these formats come in handy.

Hope you found this interesting and a little helpful! I’d love to hear about all of your processes and what works for you!
photo credit: Laffy4k

5 Comments

  1. Plot points and the rest are all important aspects of the mechanistic side of writing; they're important points indeed. But thank you for celebrating the softer side of writing, the human dimension of whether or not it's the plot that your heart of hearts wants to tell. That's at least equally important.

  2. Yes, this Krista person sounds very smart. You should listen to her 😉

  3. I agree Mohamed! You must be passionate about whatever you're writing for it to have that spark!

  4. Hmm, Krista, I thought I already was… 😉

  5. I once took a class where published writers came in and talked about their processes. Some had the entire novel outlined while others let the characters take them on a journey. I think I fall somewhere in the middle.