Why Plotting Does Not Work for Me

I’ve started The Next Historical. I had to write a couple of paragraphs of a snyopsis of sorts to sell the thing. In the week leading up to actual writing, I brainstormed in my trusty notebook and had worked out what I thought would be good rough plot. I started writing yesterday. Wrote from the heroine’s POV and things were good. Wrote from the hero’s POV and things were . . . eh . . . something not quite right. It’s been nagging at me all day. My Plan included the hero retaining possession of a certain item belonging to the heroine. I had three (vague) scene ideas where she’d attempt to regain possession of said item. I notebooked those, too, by the way.

I started working on chapter 2 (hero’s POV) and the more I wrote and fleshed out, the more certain I was that the hero would simply not do that. Every word suggested something quite different. Then I wrote this paragraph where he sees the heroine for the first time and yeah. He just isn’t going to keep this item she needs and wants. It would be unkind of him to do that. His story is quite different from what I had envisioned.

There was just no way for me to discover this without writing the words that put me into his head. I needed the spark of words in the chapter before I saw this. I could, conceivably, have gone on to outline my original plan including the scenes I was thinking about. But thank goodness I know better than that now. I’d actually notebooked them fairly extensively.

The insight grew from my chapter 1 (which I might end up cutting or moving) in which my heroine turned out to have a different personality than I envisioned, and that carried into Chapter 2. I need the specific words, the actual writing, in order for that spark of realization to happen.

Your Mileage May Vary.



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2 Responses to “Why Plotting Does Not Work for Me”

  1. i’m the same way.
    i just panster it. and if my characters change during the course of the novel in a direction i didn’t anticipate but like much better, then i just go back and revise.
    i cannot plot. i cannot plot. i cannot plot.

  2. cjewel says:

    Yeah, me too. Plotting is mostly not a good use of my time and just not the way my writing brain is wired.