1. FantasyWitch
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    FantasyWitch Contributing Member

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    MUST You Write Down Your Plot First?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by FantasyWitch, May 23, 2008.

    How do you plot out your novels??

    Do you find it easier (like me) to do the first draft, straight from your head first then write down the plot you want for tweeking purposes?
    Or must you write out the plot before writing?

    What i find is when I write out the plot my instinct is to be too strict to it so any new ideas, no matter how good they may be, are discarded to "stick to the plot."

    Your opinion??
     
  2. Ramblling
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    Ramblling New Member

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    Not sure i guess. Just mainly, when i get an idea, i write it down STRAIGHT AWAY on anything at all. then if i think its good enough, or if im bord, ill right it again on a peice of paper/maths book and think how I could make a story from that idea.

    eg - I heard the word 'feral' and saw a brid fly into a window, what that had to do with anything im not sure. but it sparked the words 'feral rgoue's' and i made a plot out of it eventurly.
     
  3. Smithy
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    Smithy Senior Member

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    No good ever came from writing my plots down, it always meant that I could never actually write the book. As it is, I keep the outline in my head, wing the actual writing as I go along, and consequently I can never for the life of me remember any continuity in minor detail, so I'm constantly having to scroll up six hundred pages to find the name of some obscure tribe who rebelled against god and are responsible for the evil-ness of magic.

    Nothing looks worse than a writer who doesn't appear to be in control of his conworld.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Never. The plot to my story evolves as I write. It's already taking shape in my head, so the story itself is where I am writing it down.

    However, if I have an idea I might forget, I'll put down a note about it. It won't be anything really key to the plot, though, or I'd have no need to worry about forgetting it.
     
  5. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I just write it as I go along. I tried plotting a few of my novels, and while it helped me actually finish them a lot faster, they just felt kind of forced and stale. :/ Much of the joy of writing, to me, is being surprised by unexpected things as I go along. Fortunately I have a GENERAL idea of where I want things to go, so I'm not just blindly writing, but there's always room for something surprising. Surprises can pop up even with an outline, but they're generally small surprises, not major plot twists or anything. Writing an outline just seems too much like work to me.

    However, when I'm a good way through a story and sense the ending coming near, I'll often sit down and jot out a quick outline of key scenes that I KNOW must happen before the ending, then I put them in order and check this now and then. It's not a strict outline listing everything that's going to happen next. It's just a sort of "shopping list" to remind me of what to include so I don't forget something important. And just like when shopping, you can see something that's not on the list and put it in the cart as an impulse buy. :D
     
  6. Al B
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    Al B Senior Member

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    I have a general outline of the story in my head, and I will have played around with that for a long time before writing starts, trying several plot possibilities which could occur as the story unfolds. This is also helped by the fact that often a novel storyline will be an amalgum of several short story ideas I have had which got shelved with the intention of making them part of something larger.

    But I never actually write it out as though there is some sort of official route map to follow. The only thing I do insist on doing, is spending a long time trying to pull apart how all those plot possibilities interact with one another, to see how resilient and believable it really is. After all, I don't want a reader to say, 'yeah, but that could so easily have not worked out that way' when regarding part of my train of events. Because even without following a road map, I want everything to be solid when it comes to getting to the destination in a believable fashion.

    This is so there is the flexibility to have things change as I move the story along when a new or better twist occurs, but without the possibility of writing something that I later realise is on a bit of a shaky foundation. That's the point of the playing around with all the permutations before I start writing; it guards against the possibility of driving me up a blind alley with a spontaneous idea which occurs whilst writing, and I do often use such ideas if they fit, because they sometimes better suit what is actually on the page.

    Al
     
  7. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    I'm not sure there's anything that you MUST do when it comes to the process of writing. I do a very rudimentary outline. Just the central conflict, the projected ending (it often changes), and 5-10 pivotal scenes that are necessary to move from point A to point B.

    I need the basic plan because I seldom have fewer than 5 projects in the works at the same time.
     

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