Thursday, November 12, 2009

Now I know why I needed a Plot

Not so very long ago I was writing the second in a series of middle-grade novels. It was going pretty well, as I remember. But then I got distracted when someone invited me to join textnovel. I set my magical teenagers aside so I could write a romantic mystery. Then I worked on my website and my blog. And then I caught up with some reading, long overdue.

Last weekend I decided it was time to get back to those mysterious teens. And today I finally got round to opening the file. I was pleased to see I'd already written forty out of fifty chapters. How hard could this be? So I greeted my characters with glee, rereading from chapter one and happily pleased to remember the tale. I watched their new school year begin. And then...

And then I realized I hadn't the faintest idea what I'd written. Plotlines that I'd completely forgotten were taking me places I'd no recollection of seeing. It was fun, for sure, and I was thoroughly intrigued with the read till it all came to a halt. And now I'm wondering, where on earth do I go from here?

Don't get me wrong; I do have a plot. Sort of. But it's not the every chapter planned and quartered kind of thing. I know which major events are still to come, but don't know how, and the brain's freezing over. Perhaps a good night's sleep will help, or a leisurely walk round the green. I certainly hope something does because I want to know what happens next. D'you suppose this is writers' block, or just writers' idiocy? I should never have stopped. Or else I should've written a proper plot.

11 comments:

Linda Kage said...

Yeah, I agree. Having a clear plot is pretty important to a story. I believe it's a good idea that you step back and take a break to think things through and figure out what needs figured out. Never know, you might realize you already have a strong one there, it just wasn't what you thought it was.

Good Luck!

Stephanie Snowe said...

Maybe that's the problem I'm having with my next book. The plot is kind of all over the place. But then again, so am I.

Thanks for your nice review on Amazon. And yes, sadly, it was all true. :)

Sheila Deeth said...

Nice to see you here Stephanie. I think I'm all over the place at the moment too, but Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming, and my Mum and my sons will be here. A little chaos is probably par for the course.

Lauren M. Hunter said...

Eep! I vote for it being just writer's block, and I like your idea of going for a walk to get it sorted out. I can always untangle plot threads better when I'm on the move.

Laura Eno said...

Some people can bounce back and forth between 3 different MS too. I can't, but most of the time I will write the last chapter near the beginning so that I know what I'm steering towards. It can change a bit, but it usually stays pretty true. Just keep going with it, you'll push through.

Sheila Deeth said...

I started writing again today. Now the characters won't let go. It seems like they've got so much to tell me after their time away. I'm still not sure where they're taking me but the ride's kind of fun. Thanks for the encouragement.

maryrussel said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who does that. I'm having that problem with three of the books I am writing right now. They are all in limbo while I try to determine how to get where I want to go from here.

Jean Henry Mead said...

That's what happens to me when I allow my characters to take over and run with the plot, but I'm a seat of the pants writer who rarely knows what I'm going to write when I sit down at the computer. It works for me. :-)

Jean
http://mysteriouspeople.blogspot.com/

Bearman said...

Boy I wish my characters would do the heavy lifting for a while. It's tiring coming up with new gags all the time.

Helen Ginger said...

This is exactly why I tell writers to write "The End," then set it aside for at least two week (a year would be better), then go back and read it. It will feel new and you'll see it with fresh eyes.

You may see new places you can take your characters. Or you may cut out stuff that now seem unnecessary. I'm glad you're taking a second look at it.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Stephanie Faris said...

That's why I'm always afraid to set something aside to work on something else, but sometimes it's necessary. If I don't have notes as to where I was going, I forget. I guess sometimes when you come back to it, though, with a fresh perspective, you might come up with something you hadn't thought of before.