Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Lost in the Plot Forest

I'm lost in the woods.

I was traveling on a good sturdy path, and it was going alright. Until I hit a giant hole. One where you can't see the other side. But there, off to the side through the trees, I see a new path, a shinier path. I leave the path I was on and make for the new path.

But while on my way, I lose sight of that path and now I am without any. I've lost my way.

Let me explain. I've been trying to get back to my WIP, THE STAR RUBY for a while now, but after letting a friend read the utter trite I have now, I knew that my manuscript had problems. It had holes. Major ones. So I left the plot that I was on and tried for another. But now I'm stuck somewhere in the middle, unable to make a decision. Do I continue on for that new path? Or should I wait and try to find a way around the hole in the first one?

The thing about writing is that we don't have roadmaps. There isn't anything we can stare at and try to decipher where we are and where we should go from here. Other people get to do that; not the people that forge off into the great wide yonder, plotting our own courses and making things up. That's the world we chose to be in.

But there's also something exciting there. Sometimes I picture myself as an explorer, finding new things and partaking in an exciting journey. I get to look at this tree and think: Does it have enough conflict? What's it's back story? What part will it play?

Still, the decisions are hard. Right now I'm battling whether to send off my character to war or not, or if the war should be secret, or if I should bomb the village. No one can tell me what to do. No one is here. I'm alone in the woods, and I'll have to pick my path and take it. And maybe I'll chose the wrong direction and have to backtrack and pick a different direction.

But that's all part of the journey. Sometimes the wrongest of turns end up as the greatest of stories, right?


Sarah Robertson said...

Haha, this totally made me channel Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken." I say you pick one option, write it all out, and if it sucks, do the other option. See which one fleshes itself out better.

Annerb said...

@Sarah - The problem is not just one set plot. The problem is 360 different little things (all the degrees of a circle I could pick and walk in). It's not a one or the other thing.

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