Friday, April 9, 2010

To Plot. . .or Not?

Hi y'all! I'm leaving today for a writer's conference in Marshall, Texas, where I'll be teaching on plotting. I'm a firm believer in plotting my novels, but I know not all people feel the same. Some people do a better job flying by the seat of their pants. I believe it's truly possible to do both - minimal plotting and SOTP (seat of the pants) writing, too! Even though I plot my novels, the characters are always doing and saying unexpected things, and I'm always open to re-direction, should the Spirit move.

So, here's a question for you writers out there: Do you write by the seat of your pants, or do you plot? What works best for you?

And here's a question for the readers in our midst: When you're reading a book, can you tell if it's poorly plotted or not? Do you ever get to the middle of end of a book and end up frustrated because it seems to be going nowhere (or worse. . .seems to be contrived)?

As I said, I love to plot, but I also love the freedom of following my characters as they lead the way. so, let's talk about it!

Oh, and just a quick reminder. . .this is the last day to enter the drawing to win a free copy of "It Had to be You" (my new "Weddings by Bella" book). To enter, go to Monday's post (April 5th) and leave a comment sharing your favorite scene from one of the first two books.

Happy weekend, everyone! Please pray for traveling mercies as I head up to Marshall Texas, and then on to Daisy, Oklahoma, where I'm researching for a book project! And look for a HUGE announcement from me in a few days. God is up to all sorts of cool things in my writing life!


Anonymous said...

I like to have a basic idea where the plot line is going before I start writing. However, I find that I do like to give myself leeway throughout the writing process. When I do that the story takes on a whole new depth and I am amazed by the surprises! I call it "flying by the seat of my pants but with control".
More than that though is living out my life verse even when I write: "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9

Virginia Smith said...

Since I write in multiple genres, I appreoach plotting in different ways. My mystery/romantic suspense novels are plotted to a high level of nauseating detail. I know every scene tht will happen from begin to the end. The plot changes as I write, because I'll sometimes add scenes I encounter that needs to be added.

Contemporary books... not so much. I start out with a character and a premise. But the story develops as I write. After everything feels solid, I stop writing go back to the beginning to rewrite it based on the changes that have occurred as the story grew during the writing process. Then I create a high-level plot from that point to the end.

I like both approaches to writing -- for their genres. But the two don't mix, in my mind.

Janice Thompson said...

I love that we're all so different. And I agree that different genres call for different degrees of plotting. When I wrote cozy mysteries for Barbour, I had to know every detail ahead of time. I tried writing the first one by the seat of my pants and ended up changing everything!

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