Thursday, October 18, 2007

I Want to Plot. Or Do I?

I'm not a plotter. Never have been. The great joy of writing is the not-knowing, the excitement of learning who my characters are as their story unfolds beneath my fingers. As with my previous books, my upcoming release, The Devil's Daughter (April '08), was not plotted, planned or thought out before I started writing it. I had the first scene in my head and I simply started typing.

When I was done, I rewrote it. And then I rewrote it again. And then again. And then when I thought I was truly done, my fabulous editor got hold of it and said "yeah, I don't think so", so we worked on it together and did some more rewriting.

Are you beginning to see the pattern here? Are you mentally calculating how much time could have been saved if I'd plotted it out before-hand; if I'd worked out goals, conflicts, motivation and all those tiny little details that make a good story a great story?

I hate wasting all this time. I want to be a plotter. I want to be organized, I want to have a plan, and I want it to work. In my non-writing life, I'm an anal freak. My kitchen cupboards are front-faced and organized the way they should be (God help the person who puts a can of tomato soup in with the chicken noodle!). My linen closet is organized neatly, my books are all alphabetized and our clothes closets are organized by type of garment, then colour. I mean, really, there's no need to have navy blue t-shirts hanging with the white blouses, is there? At one point, I went so far as to have my clothes hanging on white hangers and my husband's on blue, but I've finally gotten over that. :)

If I'm such a freak in my other life, why can't I be an organized freak in my writing life? You would think one would lead to the other, but it doesn't work that way with me for some reason. I've tried pretty much every plotting method out there, from Carolyn Greene's Plot Doctor, to the snowflake method, to time lines, to character interviews. Nothing. Can't do it.

So now, as I begin to write the sequel to The Devil's Daughter, I'm back to the chaos that is my writing method. I have the first scene typed out, I know the hero (as he plays a vital role in The Devil's Daughter), and I finally have my heroine's name pegged, but that's it. If only I could line up the story like I do my soup cans and cracker boxes. If only I could organize it in such a way as to not spend so much time rewriting.

But whereas I like my life organized, I like my Tupperware drawer in proper order, and my glasses set up in perfectly straight lines, I've finally admitted it to myself. I'd hate to write that way. It feels restrictive to me, almost as though I've been wrapped up tight and I'm not allowed to sway from that organized plan. I know there are a million plotters out there who swear by this method, and God bless them, but until I can line up my characters into neat rows of chicken noodle, tomato and cream of mushroom, I'm going to keep on writing and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting. . . .


Tori Carrington said...

LOL, Laura! Got a kick out of your post.

In our collaboration, Tony is what I call the Master Plotter. After major brainstorming sessions that can last from two days to two weeks, he'll go through and plot out the entire story chapter by chapter, scene by scene. Then I'll go over that outline and note character reactions via snippets of dialogue.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that you might want to pull your husband in as a co-writer. ;>

Seriously, shake your hands out, stretch your neck, mutter a couple of ohms, and accept that there's no one way to write. And you're entitled to your way. Relax and go with the flow. You plot. You just do it on the back end.

Lori & Tony :> ;>

Laura Drewry said...

Thanks, Lori & Tony. I've stretched, I've shaken and I've ohm'd, and I'm almost ready to rock 'n roll again. As for getting my own DH to be co-writer. . .doubt he'd go for that unless I suddenly took a sharp turn and changed my last name to Clancy. :) But if you'd like to rent out Tony for a few days. . . LOL


peggy said...

love the cover

Tori Carrington said...

LOL, Laura. Ah, but's that the beauty of it. Tony brings his Clancy-lovin' plot abilities to our projects (a bigger conspiracy theorist you won't find), and I bring the characterization and romance. know, maybe I should consider leasing Tony out. Then again, no. After all, he's my secret weapon. Although I question the 'secret' part.

Good luck in all your endeavors, Laura. And keep the faith, ya hear?


Lori & Tony :> ;>

Laura Drewry said...

Thanks, Peggy, I'm quite happy with the cover, too. :) And thanks, Lori, for the encouragement, though I still think you should consider renting Tony out. . . . (bg)


Maureen said...

I think my family wouldn't know what to do if my house became as organized as yours.

Nathalie said...

Love your cover too!