Thursday, May 12, 2011

Plotting and My Garden


Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



I'm a plotter through and through. Some people don't need a road map to get through their novel, but I do. I know this about myself, so I'm willing to take the time to work out a detailed outline of my plot. And for the most part, I enjoy this part of the process.

But...it's not the actual writing. And I miss the writing. When I'm writing, I can sit down and lose myself in the story for hours. I don't get easily distracted. But when I'm plotting, it seems I'll look for any excuse to get out of the chair. Just yesterday I cleaned the inside of the refrigerator, did the laundry, baked two batches of banana bread, and did the grocery shopping. This weekend I may even (gasp) do the gardening my yard is so desperately in need of. All while I'm supposed to be plotting this new novel.

I think it's probably that plotting doesn't feel concrete. I'm not increasing my word count. I'm not editing my way through a list of chapters. I'm just playing around with ideas, and even though I'm making progress, I can't really see it. As someone who thrives on daily to-do lists, this makes me antsy.

What about you? If you're a plotter, do you enjoy the time you spend plotting? How long do you spend plotting a new novel? If you're a pantser, how much time do you spend thinking about a new novel before actually starting to write?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

22 comments:

Becky Taylor said...

I manage by setting mini goals (or mini To Dos) in terms of work count. I do still feel productive when outlining and/or plotting but I think that's because I know when I have direction, I waste less time in the writing process by heading off to destinations unknown. It's also super motivating (for me) to watch myself hit keys points along the way and know (mostly) what's coming next.

Brian said...

I am often plotting, but never planting!

Aubrie said...

I jump in right away and plot as I go. Not sure that's the best way, though!

Joanne said...

I do think a plot through before I begin. As difficult as it is, for me it really helps the writing process to know where I'm going.

And gardens, yay! Mine will be tilled this weekend, and then it's ready for the veggie plants. Good times :)

The Happy Whisk said...

I love cleaning Ethel (my fridge's name), in fact, she's on my list for today. Then I'll post about it because Ethel Rocks!

Hope you have a great weekend in the garden.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I take a couple weeks to run through the story in my head. Then I write an outline, bounce the concept off a friend, adjust, and then start writing. Probably takes me a whole month to come up with something worth writing.

Vicki Rocho said...

I'm part plotter part pantser. I'd like to do more plotting but it feels like idling, and I'm always anxious to get moving.

Plain Jane said...

I wish I had a garden to procrastinate with. I only have little potted herbs that keep dying.

Lydia K said...

I'm very much a plotter. I think about plotting a lot during that planning time, but I do get pretty antsy about writing the darn thing.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I need a horizon to shoot for. Sometimes I have a clear ending and a beginning, then I connect the dots. Often I plot while I drive or take a shower -- those are the times I speak the dialogue aloud, too, in order to test it out for how it would sound in reality. As always, you have a fascinating post, Roland

DEZMOND said...

I tend not to plot and plan before sitting to work, so I'm always amazed and curious about people who do that, and I know that most of you have that system. It sounds like planning a mission or an expedition to the world of words and plots :)

Old Kitty said...

Erm. I'm - what I quickly discovered since blogging - a panster through and through!!!!

GOOD LUCK with your plotting!! I guess this means more yummy banana bread?!?! :-) Yay!!! Take care
x

notesfromnadir said...

You can work on your garden & your plot at the same time!

I think about my novel a lot before sitting down & writing it. Then sometimes it gets away from what I planned & I'll usually go w/ that.

Deniz Bevan said...

I'm so not a plotter - found my notes yesterday for a story I'd plotted (all the way down to the hero's changing eye colour based on his moods) and never ever wrote a word of. Well, one restaurant scene.
I think gardening would be helpful for plotters or pantsters - you can imagine all sorts of scenes and dialogues while working in the soil.

Tony Van Helsing said...

I've written a few stories but am not satisifed with any of them. Writing fiction is a frustrating process and I became a professional procrastinator.

Medeia Sharif said...

I plot while I'm working on something else. If I were to only plot, I would take weeks thinking and tweaking the outline without any other sign of productivity.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I'm mostly a pantster and I usually start thinking about a new novel weeks ahead of time before I decide the story needs to be written. Mowing the grass and driving are perfect thinking times.

Lauri said...

I wish I were a plotter. I don't think it's a waste of time.

Talli Roland said...

I plot the major turning points and then kind of fill in the blanks as I go.

Hope you're having a good weekend!

Madeleine said...

Absolutely! I love to plot while doing the chores and out walking and in the shower. :O)

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

I'm a pantser, but I get a ton of stuff done around the house while I'm working through a novel in my head. :) Hmmm, maybe I'm just a mental plotter. I don't have anything down on paper when I start a novel, but I do have it all in my head. And sometimes it takes months to get to that point of sitting down and starting to write. Wow- I just realized something new about myself! LOL!

Doesn't it feel nice to get things done around the house and garden? I know when I'm writing, my house can get pretty messy! :)

Amy

Margo Berendsen said...

That's how I am with plotting too. I think you NEED to be that way, though. Because ideas need time to "marinate" so sometimes the best thing to do is get busy with something else! But one trick does really help me during plotting: asking lots of "what if" questions.