I took a bit of a hiatus from writing recently to figure out some writing concepts I’ve struggled with. While my word count hasn’t increased much, my understanding of writing has.
My studies focused mostly on plot. What it is? How do I find it? How do I take the mess that is my story and structure it?
After reading several posts and books, and watching some lectures on the subject I’ve learned a few things:
Everyone has a different method. While that may overwhelm you while studying, it can actually help you figure out your unique process. Take what works from each source, and leave the rest.
If trying to structure you novel before its written keeps you frozen and unable to write, ditch the outline for later. Get those ideas down.
Also, study more than one way of plotting. You never know what will finally click.
For example, I have struggled with understanding how to plot and organize various plots and subplots in my work. Then I watched Dan Wells’ Seven-Point Story Structure on Youtube, and wham, it started to make sense.
A writing friend recommended Libbie Hawker’s Take Off Your Pants!, and figuring out my story purpose and overall arch is no longer a great mystery of the universe.
Jack Bickham’s Scene & Structure, which I’m currently studying, has helped me start to organize my scenes so they actually have a clear purpose. I have rambling writing syndrome, so this has helped me streamline my thoughts a little better.
I’m still working on improving in all these areas, and getting back into writing regularly has been a bit of a pain, but I now have a better idea of how to write. Or, at least, one aspect of how to write. There are many, many more for me to learn.
Although, next time I don’t think I’ll stop writing while I learn them. Live and learn. J
What plotting methods have you found work best? Do you plot before or after your first draft?