29 November 2006

Ain't it the Way

P"Ain’t it the way?"

So ended an email from a best-selling author who had just recounted an exotic plot twist she had come up with now that she was writing the end ~ not brainstorming or plotting out or talking about, but actually writing the end of her second book.

Yesterday I spoke to a college writing class. A student asked what everyone worries ~ "Won't the universal story template lead to formulatic outcomes?"

The act of creation is an amazing thing.

The linear, organized approach of pre-plotting acts as a jumping off place to better and broader ideas, twists, complexities, and depth. Writers with a grasp of the unlying story structure save themselves from stumbling for years in the dark.

So long as writers stay more open to the characters than the Plot Planner, the characters will take the writers where the story needs to go. Writers aware of readers or viewers' expectations for delivery are better able to decipher what the characters are truly revealing.

I'm working here under the basic premise that plot is made up of three intwining threads:
Character Emotional Development
Dramatic Action
Thematic Significance

The opportunities are endless.

Ain't it the way?