Associative Logic

>> Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm going to date myself and ask who remembers the TV show (not the recent movie I haven't seen) called "The A-Team"? The leader would light his cigar and say, "I love it when a plan comes together." That's kind of how I feel.

See, I'm not a plot person. I'm a character person. Time and time again, I jump in with situations and characters I like and meander about until I stumble over a plot. Yeah, yeah, pathetic. There's a reason I don't write mysteries.

But, like all my good thinking, most of the writing and planning and putting things together is done by my subconscious, frequently without giving my conscious process much information at all. So, I'll be wandering about in my novel, putting in this detail and that detail for no discernible reason when, bam, I add one more quirky little unrelated detail and, suddenly, the whole plot comes together addressing all the big things I wanted to say, but also putting all the other pieces together so they'll actually work (and usually incorporating those details I'd stuck in earlier without having any reason for it).

It happened with my first novel, where my original situation drove me to add details for no apparent reason, like Layla's severe morning sickness and Tander's resistance to healing magic. Then, I threw in a few kittens to perversely adopt Tander as a familiars (when he was happy as a straightforward swordfighter) and suddenly I had an explanation for his magical resistance, had a method for him to find Layla when she was kidnapped later in the book, etc., etc. Everything fell into place.

Well, I'm writing a sequel to my second novel (my first sequel) and I had a few scenes here and there, wanted to include this and that and take the near invincible central characters in the first one out of the picture so some of the other characters (central to this book) could find their own strengths. But I've been going slowly, working this detail and that detail, but unsure how I was going to tie it all together and in what order, what pacing.

So, I've been reading completely unrelated books and, as usual, that left my subconscious to wrestle the problem until, just today, I figured out how to use a new detail that just, ping, ping, ping, put everything into place.

Now, I just have to write it.

6 comments:

  • Project Savior
     

    I write the opposite way and think up a story then try to figure out what character would be best to deal with it. Like an alien plague that spreads by touch is dealt with by someone with OCD and has an extreme touch phobia.
    But I also like to let the characters wander a bit to find themselves, and usually something I added just to give them a little depth turns out to be a key to the plot that I wasn't planning.

  • The Mother
     

    Inspiration comes from all sorts of odd places, doesn't it.

    And yes, I remember the A-team. The new one, though, is just as good (character-wise), and, more importantly, they get Face's shirt off lots more.

  • Stephanie Barr
     

    Project Savior, I hope you don't think I think there's only one way to write. This is how I write and it's as flawed as the next way. My plots and stories often seem simple and straightforward. For me, it's the characters and their interactions that make them special. Your stuff, from what I've read, is quite different with clever premises and unusual plot directions I never would have considered.

    It does, The Mother. I look forward to watching the movie when it becomes available on DVD. Gotta love netflix.

  • Shakespeare
     

    Fantastic! I love how the right brain works diligently without our even knowing it. So happy for you...

  • Jeff King
     

    You and I are identical... the more you vocalize your process, the more I realize it.

    My problem is I am not as smart as you, so joining everything together to make plot work has become a huge problem for me.

    But I can't write any other way.

    Best of luck, and thx for helping me so much; if I ever get published your name will be right next to your sister's in my book.

  • Sarah
     

    Stopping by after seeing your post about the hemangiomas. Off to check out the rest of your blog!

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