Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's the post in which I can't think of a catchy title . . . so there.

I tried, y'all. Really I did, but it's just not coming. On to the real subject.

Plotting. I suppose that's one of those topics that we writers definitely should be able to write about. Hmmm. As a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pj's writer, I've been pondering just what to say . . . especially since my book is after all, plot driven.

I've been told that a commercial fiction novel is plot driven as opposed to character driven, the latter of which found in more "literary" novels. And since my book has been deemed commercial women's fiction, I'll take my literary agent's word for it. I'm a plotter at heart.

As for my own personal style, I have to think about said "plot" for a long while before my fingers ever come close to the computer. I'll jot down notes as I'm pondering my story. For the first book I even went so far as to break down the scenes by chapters and record exactly what I wanted to include in each. But that's only because I'd been thinking about the story for years before I ever endeavored to write it! Of course as I went along most of it got moved around. I was a cuttin' and pastin' fool. With any luck at all the editing on the book I'm working on now won't be quite as drastic.

For this one I don't have the luxury of spending years and years on how the story will unfold. Since my editor bought the sequel the same day she bought Whistlin' Dixie, I had to dive right in. (Just for fun, I set Dixie up for a sequel never ever thinking someone would actually buy it and need it a year later.) But happily, here I am now deciding which way it should go. I'm just going for it, although I've been trying to jot down ideas as I go along. Every now and then something magical happens . . . a scene starts writing itself. Of course I don't mean that literally, I'm just referring to that awesome place a writer comes to when her scene begins to unfold beautifully, despite any preconceived ideas of where it's suppose to go.

While writing Whistlin' Dixie, as well as my current WIP, I have known two things from the get-go. How the books will start and how they will end. It's the middle that keeps me in suspense. I'd love to give specific examples of what I'm talking about but, as we all know, Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter has YET to debut. The Novel Girl caboose is still two and a half months away from publication and the sequel is still miles down the track. Until then I'm sure I'll be all over the place, cutting this and pasting that. I've decided that one just needs to find what works, stick with it and consider that her own rule of thumb.


Jillian Cantor said...

I think it's interesting that you know how the book will start and end right away. I generally have some idea of what the climax of the book might be, but hardly ever know the ending until I get there. It's part of what I love about writing, trying to fit all of the pieces of the puzzle together so they result in something at the end.

Maureen Lipinski said...

I usually have an idea for a couple of scenes, but no clue how the book will end. Sometimes, it even changes in revisions!

Lesley Livingston said...

I am SUCH a fan of the cut-n-paste method, I can't even tell you! Sounds like we work in a similar fashion.

Tracy Madison said...

I NEVER know exactly how the book will end until I'm about half-way through the first draft. I always have an *idea* of the conclusion, though. Great post!