Organic PlottingBy Charity Tahmaseb
If you asked me a few months back whether I’m a plotter or a pantzer, I would’ve have answered like Terry. I don’t plot. Then I joined a group of writers for discussions on craft and the topic came up of how we prepare to write.
Now, I definitely dive in and write a few scenes. It’s like flirting and dating. And since I’m currently not being paid to write novels, I need to look at the long term. Do I love these characters enough that the journey is worth the effort, even if the destination ultimately doesn’t end in a contract?
Once I get I yes, I’m off and running.
Because there are the character bios. And then the major plot points. After that? Well, then I do scene cards for every scene I can think of. And then I never look at them again. Somewhere in there, I’ll make a collage, a soundtrack, and maybe take a stab at a working outline.
Have I mentioned yet that I don’t think of any of this as plotting? But apparently others do. So much so, that I was hesitant about mentioning how I take my characters shopping at Target.
I have a friend who outlines in an Excel spreadsheet, both on-stage scenes and behind-the-scenes activities. I think he color codes and uses a white board and Post-it notes. He doesn’t move on until all the activities in a single, designated step are complete to his satisfaction.
Now that’s plotting. None of what I do is very linear. For me, it’s more like a giant puzzle and if I get stuck on one part, I’ll work on something else. I’ll write a scene or make a playlist for the prom my YA characters are attending.
For me, there isn’t a story problem I can’t solve without a little time and a little compost.
Organic plotting. I like it.