1. The Romanticist
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    The Romanticist New Member

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    Is this bad?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by The Romanticist, Apr 14, 2009.

    When I started my current novel, I didn't have a plot, and still really don't.Although I still have written some of my novel, without knowing the plot, it seems okay to me.Should I think more about a clearer plot, or let my hands do the thinking?I usually don't think about what I write consciously, I just write and then read to see what it is I have wrote.Is this bad too, or should it be fine to continue both of these practices for now.
     
  2. Tall and Weird
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    Tall and Weird New Member

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    A detailed plan is an option but you always have to be prepared to scrap it if the story doesn't like where you're taking it. Which I know sounds weird but what I'm trying to get across is that you're writing a story and until it's printed nothing is certain. (Even though some authors do go back after becoming successful and rewrite, or at least rework, their original stories.)

    I write as I go along. I have written scenes with various characters which may or may not fit anywhere but they're mainly for reference anyway. I only have the vaguest notion of where the story will take me and half the fun is realising that the story does actually know what it's doing... well sometimes anyway. :p

    The best I can offer is that you have to write in a way that keeps you writing. No matter which path you follow, as long as you keep writing, the path will lead you somewhere.
     
  3. Kursal
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    Kursal Senior Member

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    I think you have to do whatever works for you. After years of trying to figure it out I have come up with a system for myself which works. If writing without a plan is working for you then stick at it. If you are uncomfortable with it then change the way you are doing it.
     
  4. x_raichelle_x
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    x_raichelle_x Contributing Member

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    I always need a general storyline, otherwise I'd just end up writing forever about anything & everything which came into my head. But as long as I have an idea, even if it is vague, I tend to make the rest of it up as I write, then re-read it to see if it all coheres & make sure I havent missed anything out. :)
    xxx
     
  5. OneMoreNameless
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    OneMoreNameless Contributing Member

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    I'm going to be blunt and say: Yes. It is bad that you don't have a plot. This is rectifiable either by planning in advance, heavy editing afterward, or being really good at making entertaining **** up as you go along. Which ever works! :p
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Do you mean you don't have a plot, or don't have a storyline? If you don't understand the question, see What is Plot Creation and Development?.

    Plots move the story forward and help develop the characters. Plots are the why that connects the events of a storyline. You do need to be aware of the plots, even is you aren't entirely certain of the full storyline.
     
  7. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Having a direction for the novel, for the plot to take is important. Rarely does a series of 'interesting events and interactions' add up to a successful novel.

    My opinion is that you should do some planning as it will likely save a lot of rewriting or total scrapping of parts--in otherwords time and effort--later on down the road.

    Terry
     
  8. -NM-
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    -NM- Active Member

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    Once i've decided roughly what a story is about, i tend to just sit down and hash out what each chapter is going to be about, eg:

    - Introduction to characters
    - Meet so and so
    - Do this
    - Do that

    Etc... so that i can start to piece it all together. I find it very difficult to write without doing that and just let it flow, because i end up going into a lot of deadends and having to go back and re-write things. But if you can do it successfully, then there's no reason not to. But it will always help to have a basic idea of where things are heading.
     
  9. thegearheart
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    thegearheart Member

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    I have a full knowledge of where the story COULD go, but I never force it. However, not knowing the potential outcomes for your story could be crippling. I would sit down and very seriously ask myself, "Where is this going?"
     
  10. fantasy girl
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    fantasy girl Contributing Member

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    personally i think of what the blurb of the book would be then write the story around that or i just write of the huf. it depends what mood im in.
     
  11. OneMoreNameless
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    OneMoreNameless Contributing Member

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    Um, yeah, that's not such a great idea. A good blurb shouldn't give very much of the plot away, so you're working blind either way. (Well, at least having the key themes decided in advance would help.)
     
  12. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I can't really answer the question. For all I know the process you use yeilds great results. I suppose that is all that matters, the end result.
     
  13. Kursal
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    Kursal Senior Member

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    Surely that depends on the writers own preferred working style? I actually write one sentence about the story I'm working on before I start. It's not the be all and end all of plot creation but it helps focus the mind.
     
  14. OneMoreNameless
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    OneMoreNameless Contributing Member

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    Just because some people prefer to write a story in a particular way, that doesn't mean that that method isn't ultimately less efficient or effective than another. In almost any other industry to start working on something - be it a video game, a statue or a wedding cake - without planning it first would be accepted as inferior compared to the same product by the same person with an appropriate plan first; all have creative elements, and writing too has a great deal of technical skill involved. It just seems odd to me that this is the only productive community I've seen that does not encourage proven design methods for improving the final product.
     
  15. thegearheart
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    thegearheart Member

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    Well... painting, sketching and most visual arts don't require planning.

    Look, I'm a meticulous planner. I'm a meticulous organizer. However, I tried to write a novel for YEARS before something finally got finished.

    You know what I did? I didn't plan the first part. I just started writing whatever I thought would be cool, and it grew from there. Eventually, I decided to plan the ending, but that didn't even happen until about halfway through the book. I also killed a lot of passages in re-draft and added a bunch, and that puppy looks pretty good now.

    "Efficient" is whatever gets the work done if you ask me. Sure- every written book has to have a plan eventually, but I don't think you have to stifle your creativity early on by over-thinking it. Just sit down and enjoy what you're writing.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Oh? Layout, composition, preliminary sketches, lighting arrangements, selecting a color palette; there are quite a few preliminary planning stages visual artists use before beginning a piece.

    It's arguable how much of that planning is necessary, and the same can be said of te planning for writing. Certainly laying out the visual elements for a magazine cover or a print advertising can be vital, but so is structuring a persuasive essay.
     
  17. thegearheart
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    thegearheart Member

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    Yeah, but planning is not REQUIRED, as I said. It really, really depends on how you work. Speaking as an art director, I would not attempt to force my workflow on my underlings unless they failed to get results. All I ask is that they get the job done, and that I can parse through and modify their work if necessary.

    I mean, is anyone actually suggesting on here that they know the BEST way to write, and that everyone should imitate them? Surely not.
     
  18. Majesty Apollo
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    Majesty Apollo Member

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    I believe Stephen King called this technique 'free writing', and he's a firm believer in it. Almost all of his novels were written with almost no idea where they were going to go until he got there, but I think the finished product speaks for itself.
    I don't plan on paper or anything similar, whatever comes into my head as I write it is what I'll stick with. Whether it's ideas for later on in the story, present or past. Whilst I would hardly call my work good, it isn't awful and I maintain that if someone has enough wit about them, they can make free writing work :)
     
  19. thealmightyjosh
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    thealmightyjosh New Member

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    I'm currently writing a story, in a similar boat, however the main difference is that I haven't written much yet. So deciding on a storyline might come shortly. I realise though, if I don't have one, it might come out rubbish, full of too many intricate plot twists, and no "uninteresting" parts. Like, you can't just have action in the book, it'd get much too tedious to read.
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I think you'll find that "Stephen King says ..." will bring forth many a snort on this site.

    My first reaction on seeing the above was, "Yeah, and it shows."

    However, King didn't invent freewriting. It works for some people, but for very many writers, it's nonsense.

    I am no proponent of planning out a novel to the last detail before writing it, but if you have no idea where the story is going, what he calls freewriting, I would call writing aimlessly.
     
  21. BG_Hambone
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    BG_Hambone Member

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    1. King lies. most of his work comes from his dreams, so he does have some idea of what he is writng about. (killer shape-shifting clown, a hole in the space-time continuum, what have you)

    2. whatever method suits you is the one you should use as long as it is effective. The ends justify the means.
     
  22. daturaonfire
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    daturaonfire Senior Member

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    "When I started my current novel, I didn't have a plot..."

    First of all, you need to do what works for you. If something feels too uncomfortable, or keeps you from writing, that method is not for you. There isn't a right way. I'm reluctant to even suggest anything because I don't want to trip up your writing, if it's going well. If you're happy with the direction your story is going, ignore this. That said...

    Based on my experience, having a clear idea of what the story is about helps. This means you can say, "This story is about a girl who's looking for her long-lost parents," or "This story is about a group of kids trying to kill a crazy clown."

    Holly Lisle, for example, suggests knowing the ending of the story. I wouldn't go so far. But if you have a climax to work towards, it's like having a destination on a map. You know where you want to go, and so your writing (ideally, anyway) becomes more purposeful as you move toward that destination.
     
  23. Majesty Apollo
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    Majesty Apollo Member

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    Off topic and slightly snubbing my advice?
    I was merely trying to give an example that he was very successful at selling books despite of this, there was no need to right off my opinion in such a way. :confused:
     

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