To Plot or not to Plot…

The majority of writers do not plot. They will say “I can’t do that” and “that’s not me” or “that’s not my style”

That is a load of tosh!

Then they will write their story/novel and be joyful upon typing THE END but alas the tears come when plot holes open up and swallow their pride or reader becomes bored and puts the book down.

What most writers fail to realise is that writing down that first draft is indeed a weak form of plotting. I see so many writers do this. My advice is thus: If you think you can’t plot, can’t plan, or that doing such things is not your style, then you are wrong.

Writing that first draft is indeed the act of planning and plotting in its weakest form. To fix, recognise the first draft for what it is, and the second, and the third, and instead of wasting precious time typing out your story in its finished readable format, write it down in shorthand.

Begin: Scene 1. Scribble it down in shorthand, notes, ideas, characters, what the point of the scene is, what the hook is that will make reader turn the page, and so on. Sit back and close your eyes and watch the scene unfold. Control, improve.

Now type Scene 2, and move on. And so on.

Do you ever see a film maker simply pick up a camera and point? Or a TV producer shout action without any planning? A film or a TV show is a story or a novel in image format. A story or a novel is a collection of images relayed to reader via the written word. Realise that and you might do what the film makers do – create a story board, with notes, planning your piece from  inception to end, all the while adding notes and ideas, all the while strengthening each scene, finding and filling plot holes, finding gems and using them to your story’s advantage.

Now for draft 2 and go back to the beginning, reading your notes, ideas, improving each `scene` while ensuring that each character is acting in the right way, responding to the events in the way that your reader knows he should, ensuring that each scene hooks the reader and makes him read on.

Writing your story/novel in this shorthand way takes weeks instead of months.

You now have a plan, a storyboard, a skeleton, a road map from which to read when you eventually sit down and type out your novel in readable format.

Writing first drafts, second and even third, in longhand readable format is the weakest form of planning and a massive waste of precious time.

Planning out your plot from A to Z, in shorthand, not only saves the writer months of unnecessary work, but brings greater story.



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