plot—planned or spontaneous? let’s call this part one
I’m either very, very brave…
…or very, very stupid.
I’ve just finished chapter seventeen of my WIP. It’s was a big son-of-a-wookie. Originally 2100 words, I managed to whittle it down to 2255. (!!!) What’s next? Why, chapter 18, of course. Duh!
Oh. You want to know what’s going to go in chapter 18.
Absolutely no clue.
Now, before you HAVE A FREAK OUT, I never know what’s going to go in the next chapter. I know where my WIP is going, I generally know where it’s going to end up, but I don’t know how it’s going to get there. And I like it that way.
Last week, while I was waiting for the orthopedist to put his unbearably cold mitts on my bum knee, I realized something about the denouement of my WIP that I hadn’t before. (I don’t like it, but that’s the way it’s got to happen.) If I had the thing already all mapped out, it would have been a lot harder for me to think “outside the box” and come up with my extremely brilliant plot point. And even harder to change something I had already worked into a detailed outline.
I’ve heard/read/made up people who say they’re “afraid” to proceed with their writing without a plan. Heck, where’s the fun in that? I suspect people who say they hate writing but love having written might have taken all the joy out of their discovery process by planning their masterpiece within an inch of its life.
Don’t be so afraid of hitting a wall that you take the same four-lane highway every hack does. Take the backroads, the country lanes. Machete your way through the jungle. That’s where you’re going to find the treasure.
Yeah, I love a metaphor.