From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

To Plot Or Not?

Are you a plotter? When you sit down to work on your novel do you pull out your carefully written plot, check where you are, and write? Or do you sit down and let your characters and story take you where they will?

In James Scott Bell's book Plot & Structure, he has a test in the appendix to find out which type of writer you are. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. If you plot out your whole novel you are less likely to leave any loose ends. On the other hand, to let your story and characters take you where they will is very nourishing to the creative mind.

Me? I'm actually a little bit of both. With my first novel, I had a chapter by chapter outline. My second novel, I used what I like to call a "plot-line". I laid out a long piece of paper horizontally, and put in major points and events. Somehow, the characters always made it there, and even surprised me along the way. With my current work in progress, I am letting the story unfold as it will. I have a general idea where it's going, but even I am surprised by what is happening.

How about you fellow writers?


  1. I had been going with a general idea in my head, write off the cuff kind of thing, but I'm discovering that for my current WIP I'm going to need a more concrete blueprint. I think my plot needs to be more complicated than the loose ideas flitting about in my head!

  2. I am a bit of both. I have a chapter by chapter outline for my current WIP, however, as I'm writing I find myself wandering "off topic." But I like that I have the outline to remind me of where I thought I should be going.

  3. I've heard that's agreat book, by James Scott Bell. I'm more of a wing-it type person...

    But I really should learn more about plotting :)


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