Plotting: Wing it or plan it?

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  My weekend was sucked up by three things:

1) Refereeing constantly quarreling children;

2) Trying to fight my way through “The Mauritius Command” by Patrick O’Brian; and

3) Maintaining a one-scene buffer on “True Love’s Last Kiss”.

Everyone has their own little scheduling method, in order to make space for the writing piece in the puzzle called ‘busy life’.  When it comes to my own, I research as much as possible during a week, and once their allocated day is here, I sit down at anywhere between 830pm and 9pm and slug out a scene of approximately 1,000 words before midnight.

Today, I discovered a problem with “Achromatic”:

1) Have the beginning?  Yes.

2) Know your end goal? Yes.

3)  Plenty of interesting stuff to fill in the space between 1) and 2)? Uh…

It’s one of those situations where you realise you have some stuff for the body of the story, but it looks like it’s not enough.


When you don’t seem to have enough stuff to fill the remaining roughly 28,000 words?  Then it’s time for some planning.

ACHROMATIC Plot for Chapter 2 v2

Apologies for the grainy pic.  Taking a picture with your phone (with no flash) at 930pm, with only the kitchen light on, is not recommended.  At least have a phone with camera flash; very handy =)

So…  Hooray!  Chapter 2 is planned out for the most part, and I may have to apologise in advance.  In between the actual plot of this chapter is a good chunk of teenage ‘woe is me’, so Undertaker-style eye-rolling may be a distinct possibility.

If the graininess does not stop you seeing them, there are some hints and/or minor spoilers in the pic.

Chapter 2 Scene 1 of “Achromatic” is coming to this site tomorrow night.  I hope you drop by to have a look =)

How do you plot your stories?  Plan it out well in advance, or go where the zephyrs take you?


5 responses

  1. Way to be proactive/productive, DJ! With a bigger project for me I like to have a plot breakdown all bashed out before sitting down to draft. A loose one at least, that can change as the drafting goes along. With shorter projects I usually just have a start and wing it and see where it takes me 🙂

    1. It does give you a feeling of accomplishment and preparedness; a wholly different feeling than addressing issues on the fly. As Shadowoperator said, you tend to mix it up subconsciously when you plan away, but the actual writing process suddenly shows the holes you need to fill in or build bridges over.

      Winging short stories is indeed much easier; winging a massive series is calling for a myriad of logic inconsistencies =S

      Thanks for reading; hope all your projects are going well =)

  2. Hi, DJ! What’s the old saying? “Life is what happens to you while you’re making plans.” That sounds like what happened to you! For my part, I like to “sit on” a plot for a while, have it in my head, sometimes even plotting parts of the dialogue (yes, I mean the kind of dialogue that moves the actual plot forward, not just the filling-in-space kind), until I’m afraid I’ll forget all of the stuff if I don’t write it down. Then, I start writing it down, and when I come to previously unforeseen hurdles as I write, I try to wing it and see if it works and I can make the links come alive too. So, for me, it’s really a mixture of the two things.

    1. We are alike in that regard Doc. The amount of ideas that have popped up but vaporised before I was able to write it down is rather terrible. But, the brain being the wonderful thing that it is, the idea will reappear at some random time in the future =)

      A multi-pronged approach is the best way to go, as it makes you think about the storyline from different angles. Also, allowing time to pick holes in your logic makes you flex your creative mettle by finding a way around the problem =)

      Thanks for reading =)

  3. When I plan out my short stories, I plan it out as much as I can, then let the unplanned details go where they go. Some of my best stuff comes about while I’m in the middle of writing.

    With long stories, I like to plan the beginning and the end and the general idea of what happens in between. Then, I break it into chunks, and I really plan out the first chunk as I would a short story, write it, then plan out the next, write it, and so on. I wrote a novel that will likely be 180,000 words (I don’t get the word count until I type it, as I start off on paper) in this manner. It was, however, a fan fic. But, still.

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