Sunday, March 09, 2008

Plot Challenged? Read This

Some writers are blessed with the ability to plot their stories from beginning to end before sitting butt in chair for the hard work of writing. Others, like me, write by the seat of their pants, following an image or whisper of diaolgue in search of a character with a story to tell.

There's nothing wrong with either approach. One's process is one's process. But at some point, even the most intuitive writer must sift through the patchwork quilt of story she's been working on, and make decisions about plot.

This part of the revisioning process can be agonizing. The story one has been creating all this time with a writer's heart, must now be analyzed with an editor's eye.

To distance myself from my work when it's time to make a difficult decision, I leave my story behind for a day or two, sometimes longer, whatever it takes in order to read my work dispassionately. My critique group becomes even more indispensable. So do certain plotting techniques like the one discovered in this book by Debra Dixon.

Dixon's book is the first I've run into in a long time that demystifies plot for even the most plot challenged of writers. A big shout out to Dixon for articulating the subject so well, and to Windy City Romance Writers for keeping the book in their chapter library.

What a gem.

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