To Plot or not to Plot

Like any good procrastinating writer, I’ve read a lot of books, blogs and articles about writing.  Every one has its own view about the right way to write.  I’ve slowly realised that there is no right or wrong way, it’s all a matter of finding what works for us as individuals.

Plotting is one thing that continues to plague my writing life.  The list-making, organised part of me wants to plot like crazy, mapping out every single part of my story.  The more laid-back side wants to wing it; to go with the flow and see what happens.  I tend to yo-yo between the two.  The thing is, neither really works for me.  If I’m too structured and organised, my story comes across as stifled.  I follow my plan and the story suffers.  If I go for the more laid-back route, my story runs away from me, I get side-tracked and my story suffers.

What I’m trying to do, now is find a happy medium – a middle ground where I combine structure with creativity.  The current story I’m working on, is in such a mess, that I’ve gone back to the drawing board, so I’m currently experimenting with a new technique.   In a gesture towards my exam revision technique, I’m using colour coded index cards, each with basic notes on.  I’m adding bits as I think of them – little snippets of dialogue or action – which satisfies my need for everything to be ordered.  The detail is minimal and I can move bits around or discard them completely as I work my way through, which allows me to be creative.   So far, it seems to be working well.

How do you plot? 

 

3 thoughts on “To Plot or not to Plot

  1. I try to hit a happy balance between the two as well, so I go for more of a “join the dots” approach. I come up with what I think will be the major points, or scenes, of the story, and then I just write my way from one to the next. Stuff comes up that I didn’t anticipate but because I’m not working to a rigid plotline, it can be slotted in, and because you know what you’re working towards, you still have a structure. Then you can just even out any bumps when you edit the first draft.

  2. I’m an initial pantser, but when I get big plot holes or time line issues, then the pencil and paper comes out and I sit and I think and I work until I can fix it, so I suppose it’s a bit of both. Like you say, we have to find what works for us. It’s an individual craft. I hope your new way works for you.

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