Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Plotting and Plotting
It's all I seem to be doing these days--plotting. No, not against people. Plotting new storylines. Or, in the case of Terella, replotting.
Every writer plots. Not all of us outline--personally, I prefer to sit around and make notes and then just let the story happen as it may. But, regardless of what I'm writing, there's one thing I absolutely know whenever I poise my fingers above my keyword and prepare to type "CHAPTER ONE."
I always know how the story is going to end. If I don't know how it's going to end, how am I going to fully develop the path the story takes to get to the end? It's impossible. There's no way I could have written Tamsen's story if I hadn't known that at the end of The Asphodel Cycle, one of the primary characters was going to...erm...die. I think I would have written that character differently if I hadn't known; the character almost certainly wouldn't have taken on the importance that he/she ultimately did if I'd not planned that death. The death serves a purpose, not only for the main character at that moment of the story but for any--ahem!--future Asphodel stories that I may or may not be working on at the moment.
Yeah, if I'd tried to be any more coy than I just was, my fillings would have jumped out of my teeth. Suffice to say that while some writers have elaborate and detailed plot outlines of their stories, still others like myself don't outline at all. Regardless of which method you prefer, I think it's fairly important that you at least know where the story is going to end up. The Mythos series is pretty sweet that way--I don't have a choice about how the stories resolve. Since I'm sticking to the original classical sources, anyone with Google-fu or Morford's mythology books would be able to determine the ultimate outcome of those stories.
So here I sit, like a spider in a web, stringing out my plotlines in my head and trying to determine how to make them work. Terella has been giving me fits now for how long? Two years? The main reason I'm having such trouble with it is because I didn't have the ending planned before I began to write. (Darn that NaNoWriMo stuff anyway!) But now that I have an ending I'm pleased with, I figure I have to cut at least 40% of the manuscript in order to get the storyline back on track.
Color me contented--I like a challenge.