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!