Again, I must apologise for being late with my posts. The weekend has stolen all spare time from me and my writing. Instead, I have had to organise the kitchen after decorating it, and there have been a few mishaps along the way. Usually, when these monsters emerge and I’ve fought them off gallantly, I then sit and write in my notebooks, and the computer stays off. But with the A-Z challenge I knew I couldn’t do that. As you know, I never managed to blog – My muscles wouldn’t allow it. I didn’t realise just how out of shape I am. Truly, I’m a mess!
It didn’t help that the steps broke, as did the extender pole for my paint roller. So I had to use a stool and climb on it to paint the ceiling, get back down to load my paint, move the stool over to the next part and climb on again. I began this with great enthusiasm, “Yeah! Step aerobics!”
I put on loud music and painted to the beat of the 90’s indie scene. I wallpapered to 70’s disco, and glossed to reggae.
Along with the monsters of step ladder and extender pole killers, I also grappled with the demon of achy muscles. Therefore couldn’t possibly turn on the laptop, type, or for that matter sit on a chair that wasn’t big enough for me to curl up and sleep in. I really am sorry.
Through all of this, I did start to think about our journeys. As writers, as our characters, and the archetypes they each represent.
Christopher Booker wrote “The Seven Basic Plots” an extensive work on the seven themes that recur in every story.
I’ve heard people quoting Shakespeare as having said that there are only seven stories to be told, but I can’t find evidence of this quote, only the seven stages of life in “As You Like It.” So I’m not going to risk misquoting the master of the written word on that one.
Teachers use an upside down v as a story mountain in U.K schools to help children learn that their stories must create tension and climax, peak and trough. Other writers I have spoken to use a W to plot where their tension and suspense will take place. Others still have used the simple and classic circle. Sign posts. This way, that way, wrong turn, and I’d go back if I were you!
And then I found this: A snowflake diagram! This guy suggests you buy his programme to help you to write your book, step by step, which takes the form of a snowflake. It also suggests that you spend an hour writing out one sentence that sums up your story, one hour to write a bio of each of your characters etc etc. By the time you’ve finished spending an hour to do this or that, I’m sure you could have written your first two or three chapters!
Whilst planning and organising are essential to writing, what happened to the good old fashioned writing?
I like to make notes, write lists and jot down character bios and scene beats. But lets face it, the journey as a writer is to get to the final destination of a finished manuscript, its the journey of our character that is the most exciting, exhilarating and complex. In my humble opinion, the snowflake idea is just a step too far.
Do you use a shape or a plan to plot out where your story needs to go? Do you have your own little journey when writing about your heros? And, more importantly, do you enjoy the journey?