01 November 2008

Top Down or Bottom Up??

Two vastly different plot consultations for two vastly different writers.

One, a female with a logically well-thought out detailed plot and the different parts of her story -- scenes and chapters -- sequentially lined up and arranged in logical order.

The other, a male with a wildly creative premise and lots of random ideas for the overall story.

1) The logical writer had so many details and parts of the story figured out that it took nearly the entire two-hour plot consultation before I fully grasped the overall story. Based nearly entirely on real life, still, the writer has chosen to write a novel rather than a memoir.

Though she had thought out many of the parts, she still had trouble grasping what the story was really all about -- the coherence and meaning were muddled and confused. In the end, we found the whole, thanks to the Plot Planner visual aid in front of me that I later color-coded and, because character and emotion are a bit of a stretch for her, included lots of notes on developing the character, the very heart of the story itself.

2) The intuitive writer could see the big picture for his story but had difficulty with the details, like what to put where. He had a sensational twist but could not "see" a way to get there. This isn't the first time he has come to me for help in outlining his story for him. After two successfully published novels, still, because of his random nature, he craves linear support. He intuitively knows what he wants but no idea how to get there.

As he flits from one idea to the next, I continually bring him back to the parts or the scenes. We start with the answer and work backward. He knows what he means but has trouble finding the best way to get there. He does well with his own individual Plot Planner because the visual map grounds him and gives him step-by-step support to reach his vision of a story that is based mostly in fantasy.

Most people are whole brain learners. But it's amazing to me how many writers I come in contact with through my plot workshops and plot consultations who are distinctively one or the other.

What about you? Are you a logical planner with a firm grasp of the scenes but confused about the overall story itself? A more random visionary with the bigger picture in mind, but struggle with a way to get there?? Or, are you one of the lucky ones who has a enough of both sides to sail through your writing projects?