Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summertime...and the Living Isn't So Easy


While some enjoy what's popularly called the lazy days of summer, it's becoming more and more not my favorite season.  Not that it has been for a long time.  As time has gone by, I've grown to think of it as the crazy days of summer.

This week we've been cursed with 100+ temperatures.  Yesterday was 106, and my AC had trouble keeping up.  The temp inside was 80, and I don't find that exactly conducive to being able to concentrate.  I should have managed to write more than 7 pages, but I was grousing about the heat most of the day.  And those 7 pages?  They were decent for a rough draft...but they were in the wrong place in the story line and in the wrong POV.

Silly me, I forgot to take a look at my storyboard.  The question now is whether I leave them and adjust my plot, changing around a couple of scenes, or do I rewrite 2 that were not what I intended.  They aren't bad, they just aren't what I'd expected from my characters at this point in the story.

(Note to self:  Check storyboard and synopsis for plot before taking off on morning walk and letting scenes run wild in my head.)
 Yes, I'm a plotter.  I know a lot of writers aren't, and that's okay.  I also know writers who say they aren't plotters, yet they are.  Most experienced writers go into writing a story with some idea of what the story is about, who the main characters are and their GMCs, and a few turning points.  Add the Black Moment and the Resolution, and they have a plot.  It may not be written down, but it's there, and they know basically where the story and the characters are going.

Let me state that I haven't always been a plotter.  My earliest attempts at writing were done on the wings of nothingness.  I sat down, I introduced a hero and heroine, and then I let them and the story take me away.  Looking back, those first attempts weren't horrible, but they definitely were...different.  Back then, I could write a 50-60,000 word book in 10 days.  Now I allow myself 2-3 months, depending on what's going on with my life at the time.  Take my word for it.  FAST IS NOT NECESSARILY BETTER.

How did I got from total pantster to a crazed OCD plotter?  I honestly don't remember.  What I do remember is that my critique buddy, aka Kathie DeNosky, insisted that I learn how to plot, if only enough to know where my story was headed.  Once I sold my first book, she told me, I'd want to sell on proposal, and to do that, I'd better have half a clue who those characters are and what their story is.

Guess what?  She was right.  There's also a bonus to this.  My story goes from point to point, without wandering, and I rarely have to go back and rewrite complete scenes.    When I start to write, I know who the characters are and why they're doing what they're doing.  I know their GMCs and base their story on that.

If you're to the point where you believe you need to learn how to plot or at least want to have an idea of where your story is going and how your characters are going to grow, it's time to get serious about this plotting thing.  I'm here to tell you that it isn't as difficult as it sounds.  Once I learned what I needed to do, the doing became much easier.

Each person creates a story in her own way, but there are some basics that can help make it easier.  If you're ready to start learning those basics or if you feel you need a refresher or something to give you a shove, check back next week.  Let's talk plotting.  :)
Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. - Stephen King

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