Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Another Plotting Breakthrough?

In the spring and summer, I often replace some of my workout time with yard work. Yard work seems to be very conducive to breakout experiences.

I've been thinking about plotting recently, and yesterday I did a little research on the difference between plot vs. story. Many people use those words almost interchangeably, which I don't think is appropriate at all. Plot is part of story. How can it be defined as being the same thing? Character is part of story. Are we also going to define that interchangeably with story, too?

Here is my story definition (to date): Story is an account or retelling of something that happened told in a way that expresses meaning.

Here is my definition of plot: Plot is the action steps used to tell a story, each step having a causal relationship with the ones before and after it.

So here is the breakout thought I had this morning while cleaning up the periwinkle, totally as a result of my researching yesterday: My initial ideas for stories often come in just a scene or other very small element. My huge problems with plotting may come about because I don't yet have a story. Plot is part of story. It supports the story. The story ought to be there first. How can I create a plot, characters, setting, etc., when all I have for a starting off point is an elderly man suggesting to a young boy that he come to his camp with him and his wife and help him set up his computer? (Saving the Planet & Stuff) Or  a group of kids, one of them an alien, playing on the lawn in the evening and looking up at the sky because they know a war is being fought on another world? (Becoming Greg and Emma, which hasn't yet sold.)

When I'm getting started struggling with a new writing project, I'm not just struggling because I have no plot. I'm struggling because I haven't yet found the story that a scene or question has suggested to me.

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