Plotting…

18/12/2013 20:07

Ok, I admit it. I don’t like plotting stories. But it looks like I might have to plot one.

I am a character writer. The one story I plotted “properly” (Green Sky) was originally a lovely, standard fantasy story with a girl, a boy, magical powers and a hero…and then I had to rename my ‘Lord’ character, and he became Toru. The name changed things [sidenote: names are incredibly important to me. If I change a name, I change the character – I don’t know exactly how it happens, but the name often shapes how I see them], and he formed himself in my head. He’s one of my favourites – and Catter, my hero, obviously thought so too. As I wrote, they fell in love.

I was pretty astonished when it happened, but looking back, it made the story so much better. It changed the entire course; it led to extra scenes, things having to happen, and a really lovely story. I’ve always used that example as justification for my dislike of plotting, and so far, it has sort of worked.

(I am actually wrong about never plotting: I plotted Ghosts on a train going through China – don’t ask – and that has turned into a good, solid story. But that is most definitely the exception.)

But my current dilemma is with Shadow…

As you know (or you should know – if you don’t, you’re not reading this blog regularly enough! Go and read my last post) I am re-writing Shadows. I spent a bit of yesterday and a bit of today on it, and it’s got to the point where I am throwing my hands in the air and admitting defeat.

I need to re-write it. There is very little I can salvage: even the scenes I want to keep I will have to rewrite from another perspective. I want to weave everything in. I want to include Mike more. I want Eli to be less important. I want to make the opponents more real, more human. I want to show things happening. And I can’t do that within the current story.

Also, a lot of it was written when I was younger. My writing style has changed considerably; Ghosts reflects the 5+ years in between the writing of the two stories, and now it’s even further. I am reluctantly realising that a complete re-write – and proper plot – is the way to go.

I just hate plotting. *grumbles* It kills the spontenaity and my writing style and the characters. I hate writing “this happened then this happened then this happened.” I hate having to explain things.

I think my answer to that is that I’m not plotting in a way that suits me. I need to go back to that train in China, go back to wandering around Hong Kong, and just link a series of outlines together. I need to end up with “this is the basic outline…now go and write the parts in between”.

Wish me luck!

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.