Plotting and the wayward muse
It’s taken a while, but I’m back on track with my story. I’ve been away from it for quite some time now. When I started this story, I was consumed. I’d sit each day and the words would simply fly from my fingers and onto the page. And then… nothing. When my writing quits like that, it usually means I’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere in the story. Weeks ago I thought I’d figured out where that wrong turn occurred. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
I have plotting tools – though I’m a pantser. I love these new-to-me tools – the W-Plot and the Storyboard. Problem is, as a pantser, I tend to grant my characters more freedom than my plotting tools allow. And so… three chapters ago, my heroine decided to break with plot and stay home while my hero paid a ransom. That was in Chapter 9. And that was my first big mistake.
Plotting is a funny thing for a pantser. Details and flow must be there, but not so much as to bludgeon the muse’s enthusiasm or bind the muse’s creative soul. However, the muse should not be allowed to flitter from one shiny and attractive idea to another. The muse must stay focused and dedicated. The muse must pick a theme and an emotion, and run with it in fresh though logical new directions. S/he must follow through to the end, stay excited through the long hard middle and feel that second wind effect as s/he nears the end. The muse must do all this while staying on track and being true to the characters – giving those characters real challenges, real changes, real chances. The muse must do all this in exciting and unexpected ways.
And so I’ve discussed this with my muse. The result? Quite simply, he’s not having it.
Yes, my muse is a he and his name is Freddie (Beth? Care to guess “Freddie” who? 😎 )
He’s a stubborn one who tends to ramble. But he’s talented and compelling, and if I really listen and steer clear of the asides, I see there’s interesting logic in the ideas he has. My job as writer is to skim off the froth and dig into the hearty brew beneath.
The idea is an exciting one. The actual process… not so much.
I have hard copy of my chapters now and will use this new approach to revising – editing on paper not computer. Literally cutting and pasting this story back together to make it one both my muse and I can be proud of.