Friday, February 13, 2009

To Plot, or Not to Plot - a Story - Is it a question

That needs an answer?

Okay, riding and writing are my big loves(after family) and yesterday I indulged in riding, so today I'll tackle my book, Painted Black. A post on EditorUnleashed.com made me stop and think this morning. Probably a good thing, because I prefer to wing-it. The poster was asking about planning a story, how do you plot a book. She was full of technical information she'd garnered from web searches, etc. It confused me just reading it, and it also made me worry.

Is my story, Painted Black, plotted correctly? Yikes, I don't know. I did it the simple way. A character popped into my head and began to move through an imaginary world. I asked myself: Who is this person? What is she up to? Where is she? What is her problem? Will she succeed? Who gets in her way?

Then I started to write. The story took over and I simply followed the adventure, one thing leading to another, until the adventure ended. Yes, I had to go back and fill in some blanks, especially when the person I thought would be the murderer turned out not to be the culprit. :) I had fun. Eventually, when editing, I put summaries chapters on index cards and listed key elements to make sure everything connected, but that was after I'd recorded the initial excitement of the story.

I think if I'd tried to plot out the whole story, making sure I had all the elements people say you need, not only for the big picture, but in every chapter, I'd have lost interest before I got started. It would knock my creativity for a loop.

How about you? Do you plot, then write? Or are you like me? Do you follow wherever the wings of an idea takes you, then go back and fix the glitches? Or do you have another approach? I'd be interested in hearing.

3 comments:

J. M. Strother said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. M. Strother said...

Hi Deborah. I've done it both ways. But even when I "wing it," I'm outlining, if only vaguely, in my head. I think you're right about laying out a detailed plot. It can stifle creativity. But I do outline a plot. It's sketchy at first, and then it gets more detailed as I go. Sort of outlining on the fly. Seems to work for me.
~jon
Saw a typo, so deleted and reposted. ~j

DeborahB said...

Hey J. I imagine that we all have some idea where the story might go when we start. For me, it all stays in my head until it pours onto the page as the story evolves. :) Probably, not the most efficient way to write, but it's the only way my brain seems to work. Then, I have to go back and see if it makes any sense. Ha!
Thanks for commenting.
Deborah