Friday, May 6, 2016

Why Plotting Prevents "Huh?" Moments In Your Story

As most of you know, I am a firm believer in plotting. I don't care how much you do, planning, in my humble opinion is beyond crucial for the development of a successful plot. But plotting can do a lot more. That careful planning you do before you sit down and write will take care of scenes that work their way into your story and really do nothing.

For those of you who let  your characters tell their story and would rather see the story "unfold organically" you will often end up with events that just don't fit with the current story line. The issue is that, at that moment when you were writing, it seemed like a good idea. Sure, that scene or sequence fit right there. But then the next day you get ready to write, you are back to your main story line and that scene that raised its ugly head is all but forgotten.

The result of this will lead to confusion on the part of your readers. They will get back into their reading and then start to question, "but what happened to that character?" or "I thought this was happening, where did that go?" This might be a small thing, but it might be enough to bring those reviews down one additional notch.

The other result of this is that the author might realize this was a missed plot element. Now as the word count gets up there and the book is coming to a close, the author tries to remedy that situation, as well as any of those other random scenes. For example, think about how complicated the final book of Harry Potter ended up being. Rowling had all of these loose ends that had to be cleaned up. Characters that were all but forgotten were suddenly thrown into the mix. For many readers, this last book became a jumbled mess.

So, maybe I haven't convinced you that plotting is the way to go. That's fine. But maybe consider this option. Tape to your computer or the wall where you write, where you want this story to go. What is the ultimate goal of the story. And every day, as you sit down and write, look at that goal. As you type, continually ask, is this adding to the plot or is it going to get me side-tracked.

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