Tuesday, April 21, 2015

To Plot or Not

Why I write. Because kidnapping people and forcing them to act out your interesting make-believe world is technically illegal.

This week finds me in a much better spot writing wise then my post a few Sundays back.  I'm back on track (mostly) with my writing and besides one day last week in which I had to delete everything I'd written the previous day and try again, it's been an encouraging several days. Most of this I can owe to something new I tried - and will never write a book without doing again.  I made plot document and plotted out my entire story.  When I say entire, I mean a paragraph about every significant event and character building moment from page one to "the end".  It took me about two days to finish but it's been invaluable!

I've strayed more than once from what I originally wrote down.  Example: "Gwen confronts Sir so-and-so about what he said" might change to "Gwen runs away, pretending she didn't hear what Sir so-and-so said".  Just for those curious, I don't actually have any knights in my book named Sir so-and-so :)

Plotting has made for great reference material.  I'm a fast typer and once I have the idea in place, I can usually pound out a good chapter or so in about an hour.  The problem is, I sit down all the time at my computer and think "okay, what do I write now?" Plotting everything out has made it a lot easier.  It doesn't give me the knitty gritty of the scene but the essence.  The point of the scene is to show that Gwen is going to do whatever it takes to take the last piece of fruit on the table.  In the meantime, I can use Gwen's behavior to show more about her character and use the reactions of the others around her to establish their characters more.  If I'm doing well, I may even hint at a future plot twist which Gwen misses because she's so focused on the fruit.

Some of my problems this week have come from having to write the start of Gwen and Arthur's relationship as friends.  I don't have a problem with continuing an already existing friendship and showing the ins and outs but the start is always difficult.  Why are they attracted to each other as friends?  Do they have a lot similarities? Do they have a mutual feel sorry for each other attitude that attracts them to each other?

For the moment, I'm trying some different motives on both sides which both boil down to the same thing.  Arthur is interested by Gwen's ability to cross the rift into his world which hasn't been crossed in many years and certainly never by a young woman.  He's overall disappointed in the fact Gwen came to Camelot by mistake and can't save his people from the creature plaguing them.  His goal is to save his people.

Gwen doesn't know how to get back home.  She doesn't want to be stuck in Camelot forever and she doesn't want to change history anymore than the people before her already did.  She wants to save the people of Camelot as well as herself.

See? Their motives become the same thing even though their exterior motives may seem different.  Arthur has a strong sense of duty (even though at this point, he's still the prince, not the king), and Gwen doesn't want to make life any more difficult for the people she sees going through a hard time.  She also wants to get home as soon as possible.

Writing Arthur has become a bit more natural than when I first started.  I'm not quite so terrified when I write him speaking (though it's probably the constant thoughts of editing and revision that keep me grounded) and I'm feeling his character a bit more.  he's a loyal yet flawed person, a curious and very blunt one.  He's not going to offer a compliment unless he believes it or point out a problem unless he sees it.  Being a bit too blunt can be a problem for a man training to be a king but still under his father's rule.

Stay tuned for more!

- Anna Leigh

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