Monday, 28 January 2013

Nailing Your Plot Lines

I haven't posted in well over a week. I had resolved to post every few days and I failed. I'm not beating myself up because it is with good reason. I've been getting myself stressed and confused by the plot lines of my latest piece of writing. It's a novel that involves lots of characters whose lives intertwine for various reasons and most of them will never know that their lives will be linked with another's in some way. Yes, whilst I know it's not an original idea, (what is these days)? the only way I'll win over any reader is to give it an original spin and that's what's been occupying my thoughts for days (and nights) on end.

I approached this story in a slightly different way to my first. I started plotting it out in a notebook first instead of just getting in there and writing like a mad thing. I've read so many tips about how to start writing a book and decided on this more ordered approach that so many writers say is essential. I was just getting myself tied up in knots and when I started making a shopping list in my notebook I just knew it wasn't working for me.

The problem was in the complexity of the plot lines. Keeping it engaging, intricate and keeping my readers guessing. But most importantly making sure that they won't be disappointed in the end. It took time but I think I've got it now. I just switched on the laptop and went for it. It's finally coming together.

The story has gone through a change in working title. Character changes from their description, names and jobs etc. Changes to how it should start and how it will end. It's all fitting together and I'm about 19,550 words in and enjoying it. I think that's when I know I'm doing it right. My characters tell me what they want to say and I'm only using the notebook to keep tabs on how things are working themselves out and not worrying about too much planning.

I'd be interested to know what works for other writers. How do you get into the writing process. Do you use the same formula each time or do you mix it up? Does your approach depend on what you're writing?

Happy(stress free) writing!

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