Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Organizing...or Plotting?

I had one of those lightbulb moments yesterday.  You know, like in the cartoons. 

I've always dreaded preparing a synopsis or chapter-by-chapter outline BEFORE I write a novel.  I do it because, as Yogi Berra said, "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else."  I also tend to have more details for the first couple of chapters and just before the end than anywhere else--which certainly makes suspense in my life...if not in the novel!

On the other hand, when I write non-ficiton, I'm a detail freak when it comes to organizing my Table of Contents, aka the outline of the piece.  I have no problem listing the topics I want to include and organizing them into chapters.  From there, it's a breeze to come up with two to four sub-topics in each chapter.

HEL-L-L-O!  That's plotting!  The topics in non-fiction equal the sub-plots, conflicts, and character growth/development in fiction.  (Not to mention the pivot point after the first third, the plot-points, the mid-point, and the climax/black moment.) A chapter of non-fiction equals a chapter of fiction.  The sub-topics in non-fiction equal scenes in fiction.

Now that I figured out all I need to do with my [fiction] plotting is use the same technique and brain activity I use when "organizing" my non-fiction works, it's a breeze.

How do you...organize and plot?  Feel free to share tips and secrets.  I'm all for making my life easier.

1 comment:

  1. My answer, Linda, is to react in exactly the same way to two of the points you make:
    Yogi's warning that 'you might wind up someplace else'
    Your own 'plotting' of non-fiction.
    In both cases, there's a missing ingredient that can alter (sometimes cussedly) the best-laid plans. I mean, of course, the characters. The only time I tried building a foolproof plot was in a radio play - and it turned out to be one of my worst.