Of all my favorite books, the ones that have really struck me are ones with complex, meaningful plots. You know the ones; everything that is described, everything that happens has a wonderful and intentional purpose. Not a moment is wasted and all the complicated knots of story smooth out to become a wonderful tale with an ending you did not see coming.
This is what I aspire to.
I understand that not everything can be a Christopher Nolan movie, but I love the ending you don’t see coming, but were totally set-up for. I chalk it all up to plotting. As an aspiring novelist, I love plotting. Dreaming up where things are going, back-stories, foreshadowing, twists, pitfalls, redemption–I love it! I have a notebook that goes with me everywhere. It’s a well-loved Moleskine filled with all my ideas–the majority of which deal with plotting. So here’s the rub:
I’m afraid to plot. When I come upon a story I’m moved to write, I usually have a rough idea of how its gonna shake out in the end. I have an end-zone in mind through the entire process, but getting there, I like to leave my options wide open. I feel that if the plum-line is laid, character will fill in the rest of the structure. I don’t want to become attached to a certain chunk of plot and sacrifice my characters or their journey.
What I usually do to safeguard my character-driven novel is only plot details to a certain point. This usually means I’ll only jot down detailed ideas in my idea notebook for future chapters and then compile them as I prepare to write the chapter they were intended for. I’ll look at what works, what progresses the story as well as the characters and go with what I feel is best.
This is my process, but there is no one way to plot. I’d love for all the fiction writers out there to weigh-in! Let me know what your process is and why it works for you!
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Enjoy the journey!