03 December 2013

Poconos, plotting, and novel writing, oh my!

You know those spontaneous moments that arise and leave you thankful for one's inability to predict the future? Well, my mom just planned a random trip to the Poconos so this is one of them. We leave tomorrow and we're going to do a three mile hike on what is supposedly a rocky trail. Should be fun. I've wanted to go back since our trip in September, which was such a respite from the demands of life. It truly did help relieve some stress build up and had me inspired to forge ahead with plotting my novel. It was all about nature and nurturing myself and in the moments of rest in between hiking, I sipped coffee and delved into my plot. This plot has been a long time coming and has been worked and reworked for quite some time, most seriously, beginning in the summer. I say 'most seriously' because I had drafted a plot before then, but abandoned it once I began writing, because it felt too restrictive and stifled my creativity at the time. Then, I came back to it when someone provided me the feedback that a plot would assist me in gaining some direction in terms of where my novel was headed.

This week I have been off work and have continued with my plotting and actually started to write -- gasp -- the story line. I have reached a point where my plotting has gotten tedious and it just seems like now is the time to actually create some scenes, lest I never get back to actually drafting a novel and end up plotting the rest of my life. Today, I reflected on the part of my novel that has been tucked away for quite some time; tucked away, as in stored on the computer. In a frenzy, given that I was feeling scattered and all over the place this morning when my goal was to move forward with this story I have envisioned, yet struggled with formulating my thoughts on paper -- starting the actual writing process after focusing solely on the plot for several months left me a bit frenzied, not gonna lie -- I decided to peruse the piece I previously started, and stored away several months ago, for safekeeping. The problem was that I stored three different versions of the same piece on my flash drive, with various amendments made to each. In an attempt to get my ish together, I printed off each version. There was a fourth document containing a shorter piece of another novel I'd started, which I also printed. So I have this random assortment of these fragments of an eventual story at least closer at hand, which serves as some sort of solace, since I can see bits and pieces of my plot outline within each of these unfinished drafts.

When I thought of how to move from plot drafting back to novel writing, and whether or not to continue to develop these previously initiated works or if I should just start anew, I realized that it's best that I create individual scenes and piece them together to make up the entire puzzle that is the plot outline. Therefore, I can use that which I have already written, and expand upon it, so that I am moving towards a finished piece. What I thought was that I might have to start over and adhere strictly to this plot outline. I thought starting over would be easy as my plot outline would allow me to move from point A to point B swiftly and with ease. What I realize now is that, for me anyway, the plot outline does not make the writing process easier. Writing is still an arduous task and not for the faint of heart. What the plot outline does (for me) is provide structure and serves as a resource to facilitate the piecing together of the scattered, individual scenes. Therefore, today, I wrote two separate scenes. At the top of the paper, I wrote the gist of what would occur within the scene, before detailing the events that it encompassed. I did this twice, so I have two separate scenes. The other night, I flew by the seat of my pants and ended up with another scene. What I have come to realize is that these three separate scenes tie into the story line. They are not exactly what I thought I would write and definitely not in the exact order of my plot outline, but they are necessary components of the overall story. For me, this is important. It's not how you get from point A to point B, it's that you get there. You put in the time and effort and you will get there, and that is what matters. No one can tell you the method that is right for you to achieve the end goal. You end up finding your way as you go.

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