Friday, October 1, 2010

Plotting with the Muse (Part I)

Hmm, that sounds ominous and will most likely be yet another psychobabbly rant in the writing world. If I keep this up, then I’ll have to change the name of the blog.

So no kidding, there I was working (aka, daydreaming and scribbling notes) on the plots for my series when all of a sudden (which more or less resembled a freight train slamming into my brain) it occurred to me that I was missing something in my plotting technique.

Now keep in mind that in the past two weeks, I (and my team) have logged in about a month’s worth of hours at the mundane job. I also came down with some sort of funk/viral cold. We also had a tragedy at work where a co-worker passed away on the way in to work one morning. There have also been layoffs, people finding other jobs and leaving the organization, and… tons of motivational fun, fun, fun for the workplace. All of which is either guaranteed to encourage your (as of yet unrealized) New Year’s goal of becoming an alcoholic (if only I liked the taste of alcohol) OR… drive you into your imaginary world so you can write the durn book… (oh look! There’s my segue!)

So I’m plotting away and suddenly it hits me that there is something different about plotting a romance novel that doesn’t mesh with all those plot books I’ve read, been reading, and absorbing through osmosis. Yeah, this lovely thought hurt my brain. And made me a wee bit frustrated. Why? Simple. I went back and looked at the plot of one WIP that has been driving me crazy for months. (and yes, I do mean months—lots and lots of months) And while that story was a good story and all my beta readers said it was a great story and they couldn’t wait to read the final chapter… they didn’t seem to realize that I had destroyed the internal conflict for the main character in chapter 4. That for the next 19 chapters, I had them hooked in the external story. (I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this point—ah EFF it, I’ll laugh.)

Heck—I didn’t even realize that I’d destroyed the internal conflict. It took me months (and being knocked upside the head by an author who knows her business) to figure out that I’d screwed the plot up. But when I did see it… I knew it had to be fixed. But how do you fix it without destroying the external plot? Or even better—can you trim down that external plot and strengthen the internal to make it flow better? And while you’re at it… just how do you plot a romance?

I have to say that the last question opened a huge can of worms for me that involves knocking down everything I have learned about plotting and rebuilding it in my own words to describe how to plot a romance. I’ll be honest with you and say that I haven’t totally figured it all the way out, but I’m getting there. All I can tell you right now is that it has to do with understanding character driven and plot driven stories. And the difference between the main story goal and the subplot goal. And within the main story goal there’s the pesky external and internal and… yeah, it’s gets convoluted when I try to explain it now. But give me a few more days to tweak it and I’ll be back to talk/rant about it more.

Until then, I’ll give you a link to check out that explains what I’m thinking…

Take care and happy writing!


1 comment:

Nancy Lennea said...

Internal, external, to plot or not to is all so discouraging when you finally figure out the problem. Fix it, submit it, and sell it. (If only it were so easy!)