Whatever inane and puerile image WP is feeding you at the head of this post, it should be……..
Anyway to the business at hand.
Losing the plot
No, I do not actually mean the reaction you get when you have another rejection letter
Or if you’ve been having one too many relaxing quaffs of your favourite beverage
Or maybe just confused by the entire day (as we do)
OR an observation on WP’s various bits of nonsense and failure to take care of our blogs
(It’s the end of the World as we know it…..)
No, I am referring to those occasions when in the midst of a writing project you notice that you have become so immersed in the characters, their surroundings, or something to do with the interactions of the aforementioned that the plot had sort of drifted away…
So you start out with a plot yes? And naturally you need to have characters (even if it is only a chair in an dusty long forgotten room- well you could). Your characters would have a narrative and a setting. And away you went….
and the next thing you know is you all you want to do is create conversations or descriptions because your characters are so darn interesting, and anyway you do so like the landscapes or environments you have created and people should know about them because they are….. well….. y’know, you think they should, it enhances the plot…..
Oh ………….. Yes
Somewhere along the way the reason why everyone was there has sort of got shoved into a corner. There was something important going on, you were sure of it…. well it was important when the narrative started out, bbbbbbut!
……. it’s not half as interesting as the simmering possible romance between those two characters who started out as supports or minor protagonists to the central character(s). They had been separately hired to make a team to hunt that central character; one being the detective sort and the other being the assassin sort, It’s a great deal of fun to write them bantering over clues as to where the central character might be and each being critical about the other’s profession,…and….like….WOW! It does seem to work rather well as a sort of rom-com done by the Coen Brothers. And gosh…….
They are rather cute together.
Oh yeah….that central character…..
Now where did I leave them with the secret thingamajig with, the….what was the important stuff? Oh yeahhhh, and what did the important stuff have to do with anything?
…..maybe it just does not seem as interesting as it was when you started off??
OK, not to worry. Time has not been wasted. You are not a bad writer (I will deduct credits from anyone who says they are). You are not to throw the whole thing away. You have all those words, instances, scenes, dialogue, and so forth. The whole business just needs another look to
Let us, for the sake of argument take the above example and give the situation you are in some thought.
Maybe is it possible the original Plot is just not for you. Sure it is not a bad idea, we know it is has been done before, but there can always be lots of variations. Now there is the clue for you. The variation.
Since you have been naturally drawing to the pair of hunters, these could have been the princiapl characters which were lurking about in the back of your mind as you thought of the original outline. However as we are all prone to outside influences (oh yes we are), you may have been unconsciously drawn to the standard set up. So all you need to do is take a very deep breath, do not destroy what you have created, keep that in a separate folder (clerical or computer) and start again but bear in mind those two hunters will become the central folk. At this juncture I am making a sweeping assumption in that your work is ending up on some sort of computer record, in which case I would give you one of my adages:
In Ctrl+C followed by Ctrl +V I trust….. It is actually the only durn bit of Word I do trust. I shift whole chapters about like that, while keeping in an eye on continuity and time flow though I also cheat, since I write fantasy where Time is not wholly linear as we perceive (isn’t he just such a smooth operator?)
So back you go, to re-working this and gently pushing the previous main character and the reason for why they are being pursued a little into the background and concentrate on that couple, because you are working so well with that. Yes, we know that anyone who says they enjoy all of thier writing is going to get looked at sideways by other writers, but you should have some fun in the aforementioned process….otherwise it will not work.
(Aside: If anyone does want to use the above outline for a project….go ahead…have fun)
The other possibility open to you is to set your shoulders to the wheel and steer the plot back on course:
With a few ‘hard a port’ ‘hard a starboard’ tweaks with the realisation that when it comes to your FIRST re-write you will have to do some early amending to make the process smoother.
It should always be borne it mind that the first draft is always ‘Not a Finished’ product (some folk use the technical term ‘crap’). I like to think of it as a room where you have been putting stuff to be reorganised:
Thus you should not worry too much about the plot being slightly askew. Once you have completed the draft you will have the benefit of an allegorical 20/20 hindsight and during your first re-write can steer your course with more certainity, clarity and conductivity [ The word flowed smoothly with the preceding two and on examination of the definition which although referring to matters electrical did have a certain resonance when viewed via the prism of writing – well I thought so].
In short plots like the rest of the writing process can be flexible items there to be adjusted or melded as you see fit as your work progresses.
Thus be of good cheer and strive on.
Thought for the day:
To Word Press’s Computer Systems