Posted by: Pamela Foster
“How’dya come up with the idea for that story?”
That’s the question I hear most from non-writers.
Well, that’s the query I hear the most after, “I’ve got a great idea for a story. How ‘bout I tell you about it, you write it and we’ll share the profits?”
For writers, a more pertinent query is, “After that first scene comes to you, how the heck do you plot your way through three hundred pages?”
The answer is that we all do it differently.
Staci Troili uses a plot board that would send me screaming into the woods. http://stacitroilo.com/2012/07/30/how-project-planning-in-corporate-america-helped-me-write-novels/ But it works for her. Her books are wonderful.
Dusty Richards tells me he doesn’t know until he writes each chapter what’s going to happen, says that’s the fun of writing. Since he’s published over 100 western novels, I’m going to concede that method works for him.
Claire Croxton insists the first thing she does when sitting down to start a new novel is find perfect names for the cats. Again, the method works for her. There’s nobody better at southern snark than Croxton.
Here’s what I do:
I generally start a new book with a vision that comes to me while I’m gazing blankly off into space or washing my hair in the shower or staring at someone at Walmart, er I meant to say Neiman Marcus, and wondering what on earth they think they’re doing.
Once I have that first scene, I start writing. This means I often flounder around a bit in the beginning of a book. End up with half-a-dozen false starts on my computer. But, eventually the characters take shape and stumble through their story for me.
In case you’re not already thoroughly confused about how best to plot, click this link to find out what everyone from L’Amour to King to Irving have to say about plotting. http://matadornetwork.com/notebook/thoughts-on-plot-by-famous-writers/
Here, finally, is my point. There are people out there who will share with you what works for them. Take advantage of that knowledge. Part of the writing process is sorting through all the expert opinions and dividing what works for you from what you need to drop like a hot rock.
In the end, it’s your story. Only you can find it and only you can tell it.
Join the discussion:
So, how’dya come up with story ideas? Once you’ve got that idea like a splinter in your brain, how’dya plot the rest of the book?