Improv When Writing V.S. Plotting


Now, hear me out. This might prove controversial to some.

I’m sick of plotting.

I did it. I wrote 16 pages of plot for a novel. I wrote out each character’s backstory, each twist and turn. I threw in cliffhangers, markers for character development. Eye color. Birth year. Star sign, you name it.

And… I scrapped the novel at page 50 or so.

I hated it.

I hated that I couldn’t be surprised anymore. I hated that the plot was so set in stone. I hated that it gave me no freedom to imagine a crazy, nonsensical ending. I hated how it was so clean and sanitized that it might as well have been bleached right from the very beginning.

My new novel? Guess how much of the plot I stuck to?

Just the names. I just gave the characters names and a quirk each. I had a vague idea of setting some conflict in motion… then I just let them go. Like a proud parent watching their kids toddle off to nursery school.

And now I’m on page 95.

Sure, there were rough patches where my mind would skip off and daydream about fifty alternative endings. But the difference between this book and the hyper-plotted one? I THOUGHT ABOUT IT ALL DAY.

I was intrigued. I loved it. I wanted to make it work, like trying fifty different keys in a lock, searching for the mythical skeleton key.

And guess what, sometimes plotting works. When I was just starting out, I needed a direction. Now? Now I believe I’m somewhere on book 30 or so. Yes, some of those books may have only been ten pages of gibberish. But I still call them books. Because those “books” made me into the writer I am today.

For now, plotting doesn’t work for me. Maybe it’ll work for you. But if it isn’t. If you find yourself trying to force yourself to write, hating your plot. Hating it all. Feeling like you’re in a rut.

Then just don’t.

Don’t follow a meticulous flowchart from start to end. Maybe you’re just not that kind of writer. And that’s okay. Writing is about finding a unique style that works for you. Not for anyone else, just you.

Now get back to your project and fall in love all over again.

Make progress, not sorrow.

Also check this out on the author’s Tumblr at:

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