26 September 2011

Plot Help for Weary Writers

I've encountered another example of something I've wondered about for years.

Rarely do I read a writer’s work before a plot consultation, other than the Character Emotional Development Profile for the main character(s) and the Thematic Significance Statement for the project. So, I can't prove this impression. But, I wonder if the writers who start out really verbal and attempt to tell me everything at once, write that way, too.

In other words, is the first 1/2 hour of settling down into the plot consultation process mirrored in as many pages for the writer to settle into the rhythm of their own writing? I don't know the answer; it's just something I wonder about.

Every writer is different but it’s not unusual for these same verbal writers to balk over my organized approach. I wait patiently as they dart back and forth, interjecting tidbits here and there. I sense their fear that structure surely constricts and will destroy the magic and mystery of the creative process itself. I listen to each of their words carefully as I steadily and gently corral their scenes and ideas into the Universal Story form. But, I can’t help wondering. Does this same sort of frenetic activity also show up in their writing?

Perhaps at the root of this are writers who, in surrendering completely to the whims of the muse, are uncertain as to what the project is really about. Getting to the point can be difficult, especially if you don’t know what the point is. Determining your characters’ goals and your own personal writing goals helps.

For more about the Universal Story and writing a novel, memoir or screenplay, visit Plot Series: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay? on YouTube. A directory of all the steps to the series is to the right of this post.