1. shambles

    shambles Member

    Feb 22, 2016
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    How do you plot your story?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by shambles, Feb 22, 2016.

    I was just wondering how you all plot your story. Do you use a web diagram? Do you use an outline? Do you even plot it out? Or do you just let it flow?

    I usually plot it out as I go. Once I have an idea for the next chapter, I expand on it and then go from there. I also love web diagrams, they really seem to help me a lot. I'm a visual person, so it helps for me to be able to see it all in front of me. What about everybody else?
  2. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Naysmith Contributor

    Dec 31, 2015
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    I only do the absolute tiniest about of plotting stuff out and personally I think it's wasted time to do any more than a paragraph saying kinda where you want the plot to go maybe. I know that's not how some people work and don't think I'm knocking that at all but it's not how I work and for my process it just doesn't do me any good to spend time planning instead of actually writing. Yes, these are big projects and sometimes it's helpful to leave myself a note when I come up with an idea for later but everything is always on the fly for me. Equally there is nothing less fun for me than coming to a scene that's filling in gaps between stuff I've already written and I know exactly where it's going because I have to force myself to stick to an established destination and not just let things develop wherever the characters want to go and that is very unsatisfying to me as a writer.

    Now this does come with some problems. I absolutely over-write the hell out of everything I work on. I had to cut 80k out of my first project, over a 100k from my second. The WIP I just finished the first draft of will have to lose at least 80k too. A lot of that is just dead words coming from long stretches of meandering dialogue written with no particular objective other than because it felt natural to me at the time. And obviously it sucks to have to trim that all out to make the book more tight and focused, but equally by giving myself the freedom to find my own way I come up with a bunch of stuff I want to keep too; turns of phrase or bits of characterization that fit just so well and I can use.

    Writing, at least initially, without that sense of urgency is really empowering as a writer. You absolutely need to be ruthless when you edit but words are cheap. It gives you the freedom to explore characters and take them places that the plot doesn't want them to which (I think) gives them a much stronger sense of self and agency and lets you fill natural lulls with wonderful, quiet, meaningful moments which makes them so much more interesting both to read and to write. When a lull is just a segue it's never good.

    By not knowing where you're going you can go literally anywhere. Part of what I love about writing is the sense of exploration and finding something in my characters that I didn't even know was there. That can only come when there is an unknown to explore.

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