Sunday, April 12, 2009

Plotting or just plodding?

I've been thinking a lot about plot lately (partly because of the Stephen King book, On Writing and partly because of my still plotless WIP ). And because I'm obsessed with metaphor I'd like to muse aloud about plot and metaphor. Plot is what moves words forward. Plot is to writing what a map is to walking. Without a plot, words just go on and on - like a long, destination-less walk. A book needs a plot, like a life needs a purpose. But whether that plot is the genesis of the work, or grows out of the work, hey - that's my current issue. King talks about 'situation' as being the beginning of his books. That's encouraging.

I think the trick is to sort of have an idea where you're going with your plot, but to be ready to leave the trail and scout out the off-trails. And sometimes, just writing, just walking, just doing, leads to possibilities unimagined. While it can be good to have trail markers and a map, (the outline) - it can be a real adventure to just go and see where that road leads. Unfortunately, sometimes you just get lost, tired, and frustrated. 

Still, that piece of wasted writing, without plot, does let one develop some endurance, some writing practice, and some understanding. A trail - a plot - can't be far off.  

Now hasn't this been a real meandering, plotless post?

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