Saturday, August 30, 2014

Writing question - how do you plot a story?

How do you plot a story?

I'll do my best to explain this, with two caveats:
  1. The writing process is unique to each author. So my explanation only applies to me.
  2. The art of creating a story is both complex and evolutionary. I'll give you a glimpse into how I write, but my description will be far simpler than the actual process can ever be. Also, by the time you read this, my process will doubtless have evolved as I continue my never-ending quest to write better.
I loosely call my process connecting the dots.
  • Before I begin to write a story, I've thought about it and gathered research on it for months. I take an idea and throw a lot of What-if's at it. 
  • I have four clear "dots" in the story: the beginning, the middle, the climax, and the end.
  • I get a rough idea of the type of characters it would take to bind those four plot points together.
  • And then I jump in, connecting the dots, adding more dots, erasing a few, and learning more about the personalities of my characters as I go along. Eventually, the characters take over, and then it becomes my job as an author to get out of the way.
[I often get questions about what it's like to be an author. I'll answer each of the most commonly asked questions in a separate blog post. You can navigate to them faq on my website too.]

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