On Becoming The Designated Typist


Next month I'll be teaching an online writing class for Writespace Houston for YA writers who are interested in organic plotting, that is, creaitng plot from your character. I wrote two posts for Cynthia Leitch Smith's blog about my approach to plot to give potential students an idea of what we'll be exploring. There's still space in the class, if you're interested. I'm also doing a giveaway of a 5-10 page critique of your YA. Here is the first bit of the post, and then you can head over to Cyn's blog for the rest and more details about the class and entering the giveaway:

For some people, starting a new novel is like that scene in The Sound Of Music, where Maria’s tralala-ing on a mountaintop, arms spread out, spinning in delirious joy. (Let’s all take a moment to acknowledge that we secretly hate these writers). If you’re like me, though, that blank white page isn’t cause for bursting into song. Bursting into tears, yes. The endless possibilities are overwhelming, so many possible plots and characters to choose from—and what about voice, structure, tense and…and…and… In order to banish the insanity and keep your freak-outs at bay, it can be tempting to hurry up and create a nice, tidy plot that you can stick characters into, much like those Velcro and felt landscapes in pre-school classrooms. That’s certainly a way to go about it. And it just might work for some people. However, I suspect that the difference between a great novel and a good novel may lie in how much freedom we give our characters.

All the fancy plot twists in the world won’t mean a thing if your reader doesn’t care about your protagonist. The best way to get them to care is to create a character who inhabits her world in such a way that the experiences she has (i.e. plot) are true reflections of her inner journey and her nature. This is how you avoid the pitfalls of the contrived plot, the unearned ending, the story that just won’t sing. So how do we do this?

To read the rest of the post and find out more about the class, click on the image below.


Tags: craft, process, plot