Monday, July 13, 2009

Figuring out the Plot

Sorry for the late post today, folks. I've had an extremely busy day along with no internet until just about an hour ago. But I'm here now!

I've said it before, but I'm not a plotter. At all. I write by the seat of my pants and (usually) like it just fine. That being said, I obviously have *some* idea of plot before I begin's just not very in-depth or involved early on.

So while I don't have a fifty page mini-book of how the book will flow scene by scene, or even chapter by chapter, I DO have to have some type of a map. Basically, I spend some time deciding the following:

1. What is the opening? What is going to hook the reader?
2. What is the first turning point?
3. What is my midpoint?
4. What is my second turning point?
5. What is my climax? How does it end--what's the resolution?

By figuring out (the best I can) what the above points are in my works-in-progress, I then can let my pantser soul loose, and basically just play connect the dots.

I might not know how I'm going to get from the opening to the first turning point, but I KNOW I have to get there, and I know approximately WHEN I have to get there. It's like driving a car from point A to point B and so on.

Naturally, it isn't always an easy drive. Sometimes there are a ton of potholes on the way (with massive amounts of editing/scrapping/rewriting), sometimes I take a wrong turn and have to correct my path, and other times, well...let's just say it really isn't pretty.

But then there are the instances when everything zooms ahead, the story is blossoming, and everything just clicks. For me, the writing of each book is a mix of the bad, the good, and the excellent.

Regardless, the writing goes much smoother overall when I know where I'm headed, if not exactly the path that will get me there.

I'm heading off to DC this week, so I won't be around again until Monday. Everyone have a terrific week!


Maureen Lipinski said...

Have fun at RWA! Hopefully I'll be able to join you next year!

Jillian Cantor said...

Love your organized plotting -- it's similar to what I sometimes try to do by thinking of the book in acts a la screenwriting.

Lisa Patton said...

Tracy, that's why you're a book machine. You've got it down girl! Have fun at RWA!

Lesley Livingston said...

You make me weep at my comparative plotting inadequacies. Weep, I tell you! Okay - maybe just sniffle a bit. But still. Hope RWA was awesome for ya!

Tracy Madison said...

RWA was a blast! Definitely hope to see you there next year, Maureen.

LOL, Lisa...I am sooo not a book machine, and trust me, I really don't have it down. I just talk really, really well.!

Actually, it's not so much organized as the *only* way I've found to stay somewhat on course and still have the story develop as I write.

Aw, I don't think you have anything to weep over, Lesley! Your process seems to work perfectly for you. :) And RWA was amazing.