It’s Boxing Day here in the UK, and I’m settled in at my parents’ place, sitting on the spare bed propped up on lots of pillows and trying to fix the part of my plot that went wrong. Plotting doesn’t come easily to me. The way I think about stories is always through character and emotion – even though The Iron Witch and The Wood Queen are written mostly in 3rd-person POV (with a sprinkling of journal entries written in 1st-person), I still focus very much on the emotional life of the people I create. That’s my way ‘in’ to the story, and my plot always arises organically out of the conflicts between the various characters and their wants and needs. Where those needs clash, that’s where the conflict exists which helps me to build plot… But I still find this the most challenging part of writing; plotting is always a struggle for me.
I was getting myself completely tangled up, when two of my friends stepped in with the same piece of advice: Suzanne and Renee both said: have you tried index cards? And although I don’t have fancy software, there’s always the old-fashioned way! So I broke out plain white index cards – and I also dug out my PDF of Holly Lisle’s Create A Plot Clinic – and got to work over Christmas. Now I’ve plugged an important gap; discovered that things were sagging towards the end (the middle was okay); and also introduced a subplot that I’d previously thought about, but not really known how to approach.
There’s more work to be done – and I have some new scenes to write as a result of my plot re-think – but I still hope to have this rewritten and handed in by 7th Jan. I hope you’re getting on well if you’re working over the holidays alongside me, and I wish you a happy Boxing Day! 🙂